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|3rcl)i0toric America. 

The Mound Builders. 

Animal Effigies. 

The Cliff Dwellers. 

The Ruined Cities of America. 
Myths and Symbols. 






BY >^ 


Member of Am. Antiquarian Society ; Am. Oriental Society ; Fellow of Am. 

Assoc. Ad. of Sciences : Member of Victoria Institute, also of Societe de 

Ethnographie ; Cor. Member of Numismatic Society of New York, 

Historical Societies of Virginia, Wisconsin, Rhode Island, and 

Davenport Academy of Science. Also Editor of The 

American Antiquarian and Oriental Journal 














V, / 


JTJHE first edition of this book was issued just before the 
■* 400th anniversary of the discovery of America, at a 
time when especial interest was awakened in the history of 
the country. The present edition is issued at a time when 
the 100th anniversary of the " Louisiana purchase " is to be 
celebrated, and it is to be hoped that a new interest will be 
taken in the prehistoric works of the Mississippi Valley. 

It will be understood that the mouuds and monuments 
are more numerous in this valley than anywhere else on the 
g-lobe. The majority of these have, to be sure, disappeared, 
and yet through the interest which has been taken by indi- 
viduals, a knowledge of their existence, character, location, 
and contents has been secured, and the public is not with- 
out information in reference to them. The Mound-Builder 
problem is not as difficult to solve as it once was. Fifty years 
or more ago it was held that the Mississippi Valley must 
have been settled by a civilized people, who had migrated 
from some historic country, as it was reported that silver 
scabbards, Hebrew inscriptions, and "triune vases" had been 
discovered in the mounds, but this was owing to a lack of 
real information and the misinterpretation of facts. At 
the present time, the belief is common and wide spread 
that the Mound-Builders were the ancestors of the Indians 
M'ho occupied the great valley at the time of the Discovery, 
and were the contemporaries of the Cliff-Dwellers and the 
Pueblos, whose home was in the Great Plateau of the West 
They were the contemporaries of the partially civilized 
tribes who occupied the regions of the Southwest, — Mexico 
and Central America,— to whom the many ruined cities, 
which have been so recently discovered, have been ascribed. 

The author of this book, who has also prepared a work 
on these "ruined cities," believes that there was in America 
during prehistoric times a stage of society, and a type of 
architecture and iirt, which has nearly passed away, and 
which would be impossible to restore, for the races and 
tribes that formerly existed here, have been so subjugated 
and overshadowed by the people who have taken posses- 



sion that they have jjiven up their efforts to perpetuate 
their old systems, and many have even lost the memor}'^ of 

It remains, therefore, for the specialists to so rehabilitate 
the scene, that the present and future generations may be- 
come informed as to the things which once existed, and 
be able to carry back the record into prehistoric times. 
The day of controversy over the Mound-Builder problem 
has passed. About the only question that arises is whether 
there are any evidences of contact with other countries in 
prehistoric times, and whether the curious things found in 
the mounds shall be ascribed to this or some other cause. 
The author touches upon this point several times, but does 
not undertake to decide the question. 

The picture which is presented by the mounds and the 
relics is a very interesting one. There were, undoubtedly, 
great contests between the tribes and races before the Dis- 
covery. Many changes had occurred in their location. The 
more cultivated tribes, who had come north as far as the 
Ohio River, and built their works and left their relics, had 
retired. Some of the Northern tribes had gone southward, 
and were dwelling in the mountains of Tennessee and along 
the rivers that flow into the Atlantic; but there were many 
villages scattered along the watercourses, both in the North 
and in the South, which showed that the people were really 
more advanced than they were after the time of the Dis- 
covery, for the presence of the white man put an end to the 
condition of society which was purely aboriginal, and in- 
troduced a style of art and architecture and a form of 
society which was more European than native American. 

It is certainly very interesting to open the door and get 
a view of a condition of things which once existed, but will 
never be seen again. It was not such a civilization as has 
been recently disclosed by the discoveries in the far East ; 
nor was it such a civilization as formerly existed in the 
central provinces of Mexico and Central America; but it 
was a stage of society so unique and so purely aboriginal, 
that it would seem that every American citizen should know 
about it. 


The Distribution of Mounds ^ 

The Mound-Builders and Their Works 15 

The Mound-Builders and the Mastodon 3^ 

The Mound-Builders and the Indians 49 

Burial Mounds Viewed as Monuments 59 

The Sacred Enclosures of Ohio ^i 

The Great Cahokia Mound 97 

The Migration OF the Mound Builders 113 

Village Life and the Mound Buildehs' Cultus 133 

The Race Question ^57 

Defensive Works of the Mound-Builders 185 

Religious Works of the Mound-Builders 221 

The Water Cult and the Solar Cult 245 

The Relics of the Mississippi Vallfy 273 

Symbolic Carving A>-ong the Mounds 293 

The Southern Mound-Botlders; Their Works and 

Their Relics 309 




Figure i — Mound at Marathon, Greece 3 

2— Burial Mound of Protesilaus, Thessaly 5 

3 — Burial Mounds in China 1 1 

4 — Burial Mound of a Norse Sea King 14 

5 — Burial Mound of an Ancient Briton 15 


Figure 14 — Animal E ffigies 22 

15— Burial Mounds in Illinois 23 

16 — Fort at Conneaut, Ohio 24 

17 — Fort at Weymouth, Ohio 25 

18 — Village Enclosure in Ohio 26 

19 — Village of the Stone Grave People 28 

20— Chunky Yard in Georgia 29 


Figure i— Elephant Effigy in Wisconsin 32 

2 and 3— Obsidian Arrows from Idaho 33 

4, 5. 6 and 7— Shell Beads from Mounds 33 

8 — Bone Needles 33 

9 — Pottery Vase from Michigan 34 

10 — Hoes from Tennessee 35 

1 1 — Sickles from Tennessee 36 

12 — Banner Stone from Florida 37 

13 — Gold (not Silver) Ornament from Florida 38 

14 — Gold (not Silver) Ornament from Florida 38 

15— Nondescript Animal from Davenport Mound 39 

16 — Copper Ax Covt-red with Cloth 40 

17 — Elephant Pipe found in Corn-field in Iowa 41 

18 — Section of Mound on Cook Farm in Iowa 42 

19 — Plan of Mound on Cook Farm 43 

20 — Hieroglyphics on Davenport Tablet 44 

21 — Hieroglyphics on Stone Tablet 45 

22— Map of the Mounds on Cook Farm in Iowa 47 

23 — Altar Containing Sandstone Tablet . . 47 

24 — Davenport Tablet 48 


Figure i— Buffalo and Bear near Prairie-du-Chien 49 

2 — Earthworks at Hopeton, Ohio 51 

3 — Stratified Mounds near Davenport 53 

4 — Circle and Square near Chillicothe, Ohio 54 

5 — Circle and Square on Paint Creek, Ohio 55 



Figure i— Burial Mounds near Gideon's Bay, Minnesota 66 

2 — Mound near Moline, Illinois 68 

3— Mound and Shell Heap, Tohead Island 68 

4 — Group of Mound* on a High Ridge 69 

5 — Burial Mounds near Moline, Illinois 69 

6 — Burial Mounds near Wyalusing, Wisconsin 70 

7 — Effigies near Beloit, Wisconsin 71 

8 — Effigies and Mounds near Koshkonong, Wisconsin 71 

9 — Mounds at Waukesha. Wisconsin 72 

10— Mounds at Indian Ford, Wisconsin 72 

1 1 — Mounds on Rock River 72 

12 — Mounds at Newton, Wisconsin 72 

13 — Burial Mounds near Aztlan 73 

14 — Stone GravLS in Ohio 75 

15 — Altar Burial in Hopewell Mound 76 

16 — Body Showing Copper Mask and Copper Horns "]"] 


Figure i— Platform Mound near Marietta. Ohio 83 

2 — Platform and Circle at Highbank, Ohio 84 

3 — Circular Mound at Portsmouth, Ohio .... 85 

4 — Circle and Square at Circleville, Ohio 86 

5 — Octagon and Circle at Newark, Ohio 87 

6 — Works at Portsmouth, Ohio 94 


Figure i — Cahokia Mound 98 

2 — Big Mound at St. Louis 104 

3 — Map of Works at St. Louis 106 

4 — Pyramids and Effigies at Aztlan, Wi?conbin no 


Figure i — Grave Creek Mound 114 

2 — Map of Works on Paint Creek, Ohio 115 

3 — Fort at Hardinsburg, on the Miami Rivi r, Ohio 116 

4 — Great Mound at Vincennes, Indiana 117 

5 — Typical Fort of the Stone Grave People 1 18 

6 — Burial Mounds on the Scioto River, Ohio 119 

7 — Serpent Mound in Ohio 122 

8 — Serpent Mound in Illinois 123 

9 — Altar Mound on the Kenawha River, 124 

10 — Village Enclosure on the Scioto River, Oh o 126 

II — Stratified Mound in Wisconsin 130 


Figure i — Village with Water Supply 134 

2 — Village with Sacrificial Mound 135 

3 — Stockade Village near Granville, Ohio 136 

4 — Stockade Village in Ohio 137 

5— Stockade Village Four Mile Creek, Ohio.. 138 



Figure 6--Sacred Enclosures in Kentucky 139 

o— Mound-Builders' Village and Covered Way 140 

o — Stockade Fort in Tennessee 141 

o — Stockade Fort in Ohio 141 

o — Mound Builders' Fort 147 

7 — Observatory Mound at Newark 153 

8— Graded Way at Piketon, Ohio 154 


Figure i— Mound No 2, Mound City 163 

2 — Mound No. 3, Mound City 163 

3— Mound No. 18, Mound City 164 

4— Mound No. 6, Mound City '. 164 

5 — Mound No. 10, Mound City 165 

6 — Paved Altar at Mound Citv 165 

7 — Sculptured Pipe from Altar Mound No. 8 166 

8 —Enclosure on Paint Creek 167 

9— Sculptured Bird from Altar Mound No. 8 168 

10 — Spool Ornaments from Tennessee 170 

1 1 — Double Mound near Chillicothe 173 

12— Succession of Burials in the Adena Mound 174 

14— Cahokia Mound Restored 176 

15 — Boat-Shaped Gorget and Amulets 178 

16 — Copper Bracelet from the Adena Mound 179 

17 — Piece of Cloth from the Adena Mound 180 

18 — Racoon Amulet from the Adena Mound 180 

19— StiMie Mace from the Stone Graves 181 

20 — Sculptured Head from the Ohio Mounds 182 

21— Pottery Portrait from the Stone Graves 182 

22— Pottery Pipe from the Gulf States 182 

23 — Inscribed Tablet from an Ohio Mound 183 


Fij^ure I— Hill Fort near Chillicothe. Ohio 188 

2— Map of Forts on Miami River 189 

3— Stockade Fort at Newburgh, Ohio 193 

4— Fort at Colerain, Ohio 198 

5— Fort near Hamilton, Ohio 199 

6— Fort Ancient .' 203 

7 — FarmersvHle Fort, on Big Twin River 207 

8 — Carlisle Fort, Ohio 209 

9 — Stone Fort on Massie's Creek 211 

10— Mandan Fort on the: Missouri River 215 

1 1 — Walled Town on Big Harpeth, Tennessee 216 

1 2 — Stone F'ort 217 

13— Swamp Village With Defences and Lodge- Circles 219 


Figuie I — Chambered Mound on Iowa River 223 

2— Chambered Mound near East Dubuque 224 

3 — Chambered Mound in Crawford County, Wisconsin 225 



Figure 4 — Circle of Skeletons at East Dubuque 226 

5 — Chambered Mound in Missouri 226 

6 — Animal Totems in Wisconsin 237 

7 — Turtle Totems in Wisconsin 228 

8 — Myth Bearer of the Dakotas 22q 

9 — Myth Bearer from a Cave in Wisconsin 229 

10 — Alligator Mound and Altar in Ohio 230 

II — Copper Axes and Pottery Vessels from Toolsboro, Iowa. . 234 

12 — Skeletons in Mound near Davenport 235 

13 — Crescent and Circle 236 

14 — Copper Mace from Etowah Mound 237 

15 — Fire Bed in the Shape of a Crescent and Circle 239 


Figure i — Horseshoe Enclosures at Portsmouth, Ohio 249 

2^Effigy of Elephant m a Circle, on the Scioto River, Ohio. 250 

3 — Concentric Sun Circles and Terraced Mound 251 

4 — Terraced Mound opposite Portsmouth, Ohio 252 

5 — Enclosure and Covered Way, Portsmouth, Ohio 253 

6 — Circle and Square on Paint Creek 20 

7 — Sacred Enclosure near Anderson, Indiana 257 

8 — Sun Circle on White River, Indiana 258 

9 — Circle and Ellipse near Anderson, Indiaria 258 

10 — Sun Circle and Graded Way in West Virginia 259 

II — Plan of Altar Mound 260 

12 — Altar in Shape of Circle 20 

13 — Altar Mound 271 

14 — Altar in Relief 261 

15— Crescent Pavement 262 

16^ — Works at Alexandersville, Ohio 264 

17 — Works at Worthington, Ohio 265 

18 — Spool Ornament and Cioss from Stone Grave 266 

19 — Pipe from Etowah Mound 267 

20 — Circle and Crescent Pavement at Circleville, Ohio 269 


Figure i — Maces and Badges from Ohio 275 

2 — Arrow-Heads from Wisconsin 283 

3 — Chunky Stones from Tennessee 286 

4 — Pottery Bowl from Tennessee 287 


Figure i — Symbols found m Copper Relics from Hopewell Mound.. 296 

2 — Symbols found in the Effigy Mounds 297 


Figure i — Works at St. Louis 310 

2 — Pyramids at Walnut Bayou 311 

3 — Pyramid Mounds at Prairie Jefferson 312 

4 — Village on Ocmulgee River 313. 



Figure 5— The Etowah Mound 314 

6 — Stone Cist in the Shape of a Hut 317 

7 — Mound-Bnilders' House Wall 317 

8 — Head Vase from Tennessee 318 

9— Pottery from Ash-Pits in Ohio 3ig 

10 — Pottery from Ash-Pits in Ohio 319 

1 1 — Pottery from the Stone Graves 320 

12— Vase With Three Heads 324 

13 — Florida Pottery 325 

14 — Copper Relics from Iowa Mound 326 

15 — Copper Plate from Mound in Wisconsin 327 

16 — Shell Gorget from Etowah Mound 328 

17— Copper Relics from Florida 32g 

19 — Sun Symbol on Shell Gorget 331 

20 — Birds' Heads and Looped Square 332 

21 — Spider Gorget from Missouri 332 

22— Fighting Figures Irom Stone Graves 333 

23— P'Rhting Figures from Mexico 333 

24 — Suastikft on Shell Gorget 334 

25 — Idol from Knox County, Tennessee. 336 

26 — ^Idol from Tennessee 339 

27 — Idol from Georgia 339 


Frontispiece— Ancient Earthworks 
at Marietta. 

Earthworks at Marietta, page i. 

Conical Mound at Marietta, p. 2. 

Map of Burial Mounds near Mus- 
catine, page 17. 

Map of Works on the Scioto River, 
page 18. 

Village Enclosure on the Scioto, 
page 48. 

Indian Encampment at Detroit, 
page 4Q. 

Map of Burial Mounds in Min- 
nesota, page 58. 

Burial Mounds at Detroit, page 59 

Burial Mounds in Ohio, page 74. 

Burial Mound at Chillicothe, p. 74. 

The Adena Mound, near Chilli- 
cothe, page 75. 

Mound Containing Stone Graves, 
page 79. 

Stone Mound Containing Succes- 
sion of Burials, page 80. 

Circles and Squares in Ohio, p. 88. 

Crescents and Circles in Oblong 
Enclosure, page 89. 

Map of Village in Marietta, p. 132. 

Village Enclosures at Newark, 133. 

Village Enclosures and Dance 
Circles, page 144. 

Village Enclosures and Covered 
Way, page 145. 

Pyramid Mounds in Illinois, p. 158. 

Pyramid Mounds in Missiisippi, 
page 159. 

Pyramid Mound at Etowah, p. 160. 

Copper Eagle from Etowah 
Mound, page 171. 

Eagle Man from Etowah Mound, 
page 172. 

Pyramid at Pine Bluff, Arkansas, 
page 176. 

The Knapp Mound, page 177. 

Map of the Works of the Mound- 
Builders, page 182. 
Map of the Indian Tribes, p. 183. 
Earth Fort in Highland County, 

Ohio, page 200. 
Stone Fort in Ross County, Ohio. 

page 201. 
Stockade and Stone Forts in Ohio, 

page 216 
Stockade Forts in Northern Ohio, 

page 217, 
Stockade Forts in Southern Ohio, 

page 218. 
Fort and Village Sites in North 

Carolina, page 219. 
Fort and Bastion in Tennessee, 220 
Works in Portsmouth, page 262. 
Works in Newark, page 263. 
Temple Platform at Cedar Bank, 

page 264. 
Shell Gorgets, page 265. 
Relics from Tennessee, page 2S4. 
Implements and Ornaments from 

Tennessee, page 301. 
Inscribed Shells from Tennessee, 

page 301. 
Inscribed Shells and Suastikas 

from Tennessee, page 301, 
Cahokia Tablet, page 303. 
Inscribed Shells from Tennessee, 

page 304. 
Pottery Kettles and Bowls from 

Tennessee, page 315. 
Pottery Bowls from Stone Graves, 

page 316. 
Pottery Portraits from the Stone 

Graves, page 321. 
Pottery Bottles from Arkansas, 322 
Wooden Tablets from the Florida 

Keyes, page 338. 
Idol Pipe from the Adena Mound. 

page 338. 
























The world is full of monuments. Some of them are made 
of earth; others of stone, and others of bronze. Each in their 
turn indicate a new age and the progress of civilization. The 
history of the past is made known by these mute witnesses. 
There is scarcely any land which has not its records kept by 
these monuments in one form or another, but the earliest of alj 
is that contained in the mounds. 

The first striking event in the history of any community, is 
the first birth or first death, and so it is with the history of the 
human race. We go back to the earliest record and find the 
story of the first pair, and soon after the story of the first 
death. It is conceded that the earliest monuments were 
placed over the bodies of some distinguished dead. So the 
earth mounds of every land may be regarded as mementos of 
tribes and peoples that have passed away. Nothing is more 
sacred to the human heart than the meniory of the dead. It 
is a sentiment which is as strong among wild Indians as among 
civilized people. 

The earth mound was to them a memento of the past. 
To us the dearest associations are those which unite the visible 
with the invisible, the past with the present. And so it has 
been with others. As generation after generation was gathered 
to its fathers, the growing mound would increase the sacred- 
ness of the spot. 

It is thus that we arrive at a motive sufficient for the- great 
pyramidal structures. Human nature, true to its original in- 
stincts, thus hallowed its inmost feelings by the great mound. 
Such is the reason for supposing the pyramids to precede 
every form of religious edifice. The highest thought of im- 
mortality is aided by these monuments of the departed. His- 
tory and' architecture agree in this: that the pyramids arc the 
oldest monuments, but there are tumuli found everywhere 
in the habitable globe which are much older. 

The universality of mounds throughout a large portion of 
the world, only shows that man everywhere possesses the 
same religious instincts and uses the same method for honor- 


ing the divinities, and shows regard for ancestors in about the 
same way. It is by following the course of architectural de- 
velopment in the Old World that we. find the law which pre- 
vailed in the New. The remote period in which the great 
number ot monuments v/ere erected, leads us to pay a regard 
to the monuments of our own land. It may be that if we bet- 
ter appreciated the feelings which exist in all hearrs and 
homes, we would look upon the mounds that surround us, 
with a greater sense of their sacredness. The record con- 
tained in them is not so important as that contained in the 
monuments of the East, yet the consecutiveness of architect- 
ure in both hemispheres, and the singular parallelism seen in 
l:)oth worlds, makes the study of mounds and monuments very 

In every land we meet with tokens of respect for the dead. 
We cannot expect to find in the mounds of this country any 
such record as is contained in those mounds in which many of 
the ancient cities lie buried: but we may at least ascertain 
what kind of structures were erected in prehistoric times, and 
by this means gain a view of the beginnings of architecture 
even better than in the Old World. The same is true of the 
beginnings of art, for while certain tokens of the Stone Age 
have been discovered in the historic lands, yet if we are to 
learn about the art of the Stone Age we need to examine the 
relics which are hidden beneath the mounds of the Mississippi 

The work of mound exploration has fallen into discredit, 
because of the motives which have ruled with many; yet there 
are lessons to be learned even here. It will be remembered 
that these silent mounds were the result of religious ceremonies, 
which followed one anoiher through many centuries, and were 
practiced by many tribes. The many generations have left 
their record in them, which makes them like the leaves of a 
book which may well be compared to the " Book of the Dead." 

Among the people situated as we suppose the earh inhabi- 
tants of this country to have been, these contain the only 
records. The continuity of the same race in the same country, 
and uninfluenced by any foreign element, continued until the 
time of the Discovery. There may have been many tribes, 
but they were all aboriginal. What length of time was required 
for these successive manifestations we cannot say. We know 
there were many ages through which architecture struggled in 
the Old World, and we may expect to find traces of many 
generations in the New. From the pyramid to the temple, in 
Egypt, was a far cry which extended through 1,500 years, and 
it may be that the same length of time elapsed between the 
beginning and ending of the mound-building period. 

The interval between the earliest grave in Egypt and the 
building of the pyramid at Ghizeh may have been very long, but 
It is unknown how long a time elapsed between the first ap- 


pearance of man here on this continent and the beginning of 
the mound-building period. 

There were various and succeeding phases of society m the 
Eastern World before history began to be written. In the 
Western World no history was really written until the advent 
of the white man; and \'et there are many evidences that a rude 
civilization had prex'ailed here long before that time. It is 
from the careful study of archeology that we are to carry the 
records back, and learn about the changes and events which 

These massive monuments arc before us as the memorials 
of the past, and we nre not to destroy them until we have found 
the record. The history of mound-building will, then, be ap- 
propriate here. 

There is a description in Homer of the process of mound- 
building, which was common in his day, for it was over the 


grave of Patroclus that a sacrifice or hecatomb of oxen was 
made, and that a mound was erected. Xenophon also has 
made a record of the manner in which those slain in battle 
were buried, so that we know that the habit of mound-building 
was common then and had probably survived from the pre- 
historic into the historic period. It is by this means that we 
have been able to identify and to know that the site of the 
battle of Marathon, which was one of the most memorable 
events in the history of Greece, is the monument of those who 
fell in that battle. 

There is also a mound on the coast of Asia Minor, which is 
a monument of the Siege of Troy, described by Homer. 
Schliemann discovered it, and identified it as the one in which 
was buried the hero. Protesilaus, who led the warriors of 
Thessaly against Troy, and was the first Greek who jumped on 
shore. The tradition of antiquity attributed it to him. This 
tumulus and the gardens around are strewn with fragments of 
thick black pottery, which are very ancient, and similar to that 


found in the first city at Troy. There are other mounds scat^ 
tered over the globe, which are monuments of events of nearly 
equal importance, but are not so well known because no Homer 
or Schliemann has arisen to make known the event, or identify 
the mound with it. 

The large majority of mounds and monuments of the East 
were erected as places where the remains of the deceased could 
be buried, and where the personal possessions, especially those 
which were the most treasured, could be deposited. It is very 
singular how wide-spread was this custom of depositing the 
treasures of the deceased along with the body. We speak of 
the habit of the North American Indian, of depositing the 
relics with the body of the dead, the most of which were 
made of stone or copper or shell, and have been preserved, so 
that through them we can learn about the art of the Stone Age. 
But the same custom prevailed among the nations of the East, 
long after the Stone Age had passed away, so that one of the 
means by which we may learn about the art and social condi- 
tion which prevailed in the Bronze Age up to the beginning of 
the Iron Age. is to enter the tombs and draw from them the 
treasures wliich they contain. 

This practice of burying treasures with the dead prevailed • 
in Egypt as well as Greece. The view of immortality led the 
Egyptians to make the tomb in the shape of a house and to 
place a statue in the tomb, but to bury the body below the 
tomb, and treasures with the body. Even pyramids were built 
in this wa)'. There was a chamber in the pyramid, but the body 
was below it. The mound-building habit of the Egyptians 
reached its highest point in the pyramids. 

With the Babylonians the case was different. Many houses 
and palaces, temples, libraries, and statues have been found 
buried in the great mounds; no such burials as have been pre- 
sented by the tomb of Mycenae, nor such mummies, as are num- 
erous in Egypt. 

The tombs are built in the form of houses; many of which 
were conical in shape, and resembled the early houses, rather 
than those which were occupied by kings; so that there is a 
double advantage in opening the tombs. We learn about the 
ancient architecture as well as the early art, and find a record 
which is as useful as if there had been a written account of the 
scenes and circumstance of the times. It was on this account 
that the explorations by Schliemann in Greece are so valuable. 
It was his acquaintance with the Greek language and his ad- 
miration for Homer that led him to dig into the great hill at 
Hissarlik, and as a result he was able to identify, not only 
the site of ancient Troy, but to discover the traces of sixteen 
cities which had arisen upon the spot and gone to ruin, making 
successive layers, by which the age of the cities could be identi- 
fied. The relics which were discovered show the progress of 
civilization, as well as of art and architecture. It was also his 


familiarity with classic writers that led him to undertake his 
expeditions at Tiryns, Mycen;e, and Athens, which resulted 
in such wonderful discoveries. 

The tombs of the ancient kings contained treasures of great 
value; but a benefit came to the world from his discovery, 
which cannot be measured in dollars and cents, tor the relics of 
art which were exhumed, have thrown light upon the period 
which has not ceased to astonish even the best of scholars. 
They have not only become familiar with the magnificence 
which prevailed in the palaces of the kings, but have learned 
much concerning- the common things in use among the people. 
We may say then, that mound exploration in America has 
received a new dignity, and the relics which are exhumed from 
them have an additional value from the fact that they can be 
compared with the treasures taken from the tombs of the 
East, and so the different stages of progress may be learned. 

N* i33.^Tua)iUu* of froiCMUua oa the ThraciAn Cbcnoocaiu oppowte itic Plua of Troy- 


Nor does ihe value of mound exploration cease with' the knowl- 
edge of classic history, for the Bible itself has received a new 
light as a result of mound explorations. 

There are very few burial mounds in the Holy Lands, and 
the relics of extreme antiquity are lacking; but there are 
mounds and monuments even theie, which carjy us back to 
the days of Abraham, or even earlier. 

In fact, the Stone Age antedated the Bronze Age and the 
Iron Age in all parts of the world, and we have a much clearer 
idea as to the social conditions which prevailed in Egypt, 
Syria, Babylonia and other parts of the world, after studying 
the relics and remains of the prehistoric peoples buried in these 
mounds, than we would have without them. 

They belonged to a race totally unlike those whose monu- 
ments are discovered in the East, yet the supposition is that 
they originated in the Old World, and represent the races 
which once existed there. 


Great efforts are being made to learn about the relics of 
the Stone Age in the Old World, for from them we learn the 
beginnings of art and architecture, and even of religious sym- 
bols, and the efforts which have been so successful here in 
bringing out the peculiarities of that age, may be of great 
assistance to the archaeologists elsewhere. 

The scarcity of the relics of the Stone Age in Greece and 
Babylonia and Egypt seems to be lamented, yet enough have 
been discovered to show that that age did really exist in those 
lands. Perrot and Chipiez say : 

When we attempted to draw up the balance sheet of the Grecian Stone 
Age, we are not beset with an embracing mass of material, such as is seen 
in Mexiro, Scandinavia and other lands. The paucity of objects of this 
nature standout all the more clearly from the contrasts. We cannot de- 
mand of this country megalithic monuments, menhirs, cromlechs, or dol- 
mens, for the simple reason that none are found in Greece or on the coast 
of Asia Minor. The pile villages that were broui^ht to light in Thessaly 
and Macedonia, have turned out to be quite modern, and have no connec- 
tion whatever with the palaffittes mentioned by Herodotus, In them, more- 
over, no objects dating back to antiquity have been discovered. Tht re is 
little reason for seriously examining the stone (jr flint yard in Accadia or 
Orchomenus, or the kitchen middens have been pointed out in 
Salamis. Still, on the other hand, researches are tncoura>;td by the knnv\ I- 
edge that towns that played so brilliant a part in history were oten built on 
much older settlements, so that when sub-structures or foundations w. re 
laid bare, instead of the looked-for classical buildings, they frequently 
present remains of villages in which had lived the earliest inhabitants of 
the country. Of the different pieces representing the Stone Age. fragments 
of obsidian and flint cut to a point are numerous and widei> distributed. 
Schliemann's excavations alone have yielded thousands. Ihe larj^est crop 
comes from Hi^sarlik. but Mycence and Tiryns furnish fine specimens also. 
Pieces of obsidian fall under two different htads: sltnder cones fitted to 
wood, or bone handled, to be used as a javelin; or thin triant^iilar blades, 
intended to go through the air and hit the mark at a distance (arrow-hea !s).' 
Long fine blades, whether as knives or saws are not common here. 

There is yet another class of instruments winch a widespread super- 
stition has done much to popularize. The Greeks designated them "Astral 
Stones." The French and Turks call them "Thunder Stones." We al.ude 
to polished stone axes, which are sn largely represented in our co lertunis. 
They represent the first efforts of a primitive people to emerge from bar- 
barism, a status which was not bO apparent in the several popul.ttcd centres, 
as in the clans that were scattered about. Still the employment of stone 
implements did rot cease when metal tubes made their first apiearance. 
for stone was discarded slowly and by degrees. The finest sp. cimens of 
stone relics have come from Trov, Tiryns, and Mvcena>. towns where 
metal wsa applied to all the usages of life. 

The passage from a semi savage state to a settled condition among the 
Greeks, was effected in their countless migrations to and fro, finally estab- 
lishing themselves in positions in which they became the Greek nation. Their 
efforts are visible in scenes far apart fiom one another, and yet not too dis- 
taiit to preclude their entering into relations of intimacy with tach other, 
and to have bestowed upon their handiwork a general lainily resemblance. 
The Hellenic tribes were separated by mountain or sea from one another, 
and did not owe allegiance t > a supreme head. Each obeyed its o n chitf 
and lived its own individual and independent life, but the State that had 
Mycens for its capital, appears to have been the most intlu< ntial among all. 
It constituted continental Greece, during the four or five centuries that pre- 
ceded the Doric invasion. 

The discoveries made during the last thirty years have disclosed to us 
at Greece totally forgotten, and older than Homeric Greece, but none 


created so deep an impresbion as those in the Mycenjen metropohs. These 
lar better tlian any other, show us the means of defining the civilization 
wliich was the earliest. 

The thought expressed above in reference to the isolated 
tribes having developed in the course of time into a nation, is 
important, for it shows that it always takes time for any people 
to grow into the condition of a nation; and, unless the tribes 
are surrounded by physical barriers, and protected from incur- 
sions, they may never reach this position. This point is im- 
portant in connection with the Mound-Builder's history. 

Schliemann thought he recognized seven periods at Troy, 
but these were reduced to four superimposed cities. Resting 
on the rock itself, was the first settlement. In the second 
period the gate was furnished with a lintel and wooden jambs, 
and opened into a narrow sloping corridor, Percy Gardener 
says : 

It is supposed by many archaeologists that the graves which were dug 
in the rocks, just within the lion's gate at Mycenae, were earlier or older 
than the beehive tombs, the rich spoil of which dazzled Europe a few years 
ago. It is not unusual to recognize in the graves of prehistoric Greece, 
two periods, the older marked by rock cut tombs, and the later by beehive 

This would indicate that tomb building began in the 
Stone Age, though this has been obscured by the accumula- 
tions of more recent times. The same tact is true of the Holy 
Land. There was a mound situated in the south of Palestine, 
which was supposed to mark the site of the ancient Lachish, 
but it was a silent heap of earth. No one had undertaken to 
draw out its secrets until Mr, F. J. Bliss, the son of a mission- 
ary, was induced by Prof Petne to enter into the work of ex- 
ploration, He found that it contained the records of many 
ages, and it is now called the " Mound of Many Cities." Its 
history does not go back to the Stone Age, but leads us to an 
acquaintance with a condition of the country while the Egypt- 
ians were in power, and when a correspondence was carried on 
between Ramses, the great king of Egypt, and an officer who 
was stationed at this very city; and a series of letters were dis- 
covered, both in Egypt and in Syria, which carries back the 
history of writing to a much earlier period than had before 
been known. 

The exploration by Mr. Arthur J, Evans has also shown 
that prehistoric civilization appeared not only in Greece and 
Asia Minor and P.gypt, but extended from Cyprus and Pales- 
tine .to Sicily and Southern Italy and the coasts of Spain. The 
colonial and industrial enterprises of the Phoenicians have left 
their mark throughout the Mediterranean Basin. In all these 
excavations and researches, the land to which ancient tradition 
pointed as the cradle of Greek civilization, had been left out 
of account. Crete was the central island, a half-way house 
between three continents. Prof. Flinders J. Petrie says: 


Here in his royal citv, Knossos, Minos ruled and founded the first sea 
empire of Greece, extending his dominion far over the ^gean isles and 
coastlands. It was as the first law-giver ot Greece that he achieved his 
greatest renown. He was the Cretan Moses, who every nine years repaired 
to the cave of Zeus and received from the god of the mountain the laws 
for his people, Like Abraham, he is described as the friend of the gods. 
His symbol was the double axe; his animal figure totem was the bull. The 
great cave of Mount Ida, whose inmost shrine was adorned with natural 
pillars of gleaming stalactite, leads deep down to the waters of an unnavi- 
gated pool. On the conical height immediately above the site and sur- 
rounded by a Cyclopean enclosure, his tomb was pointed out. 

The palace had a long antecedent history, and there are frequent traces 
of its remodelling. Its earliest elements may go back a thousand years 
before its final overthrow, approximately to 2,000 B. C, but below the 
foundations of the later building and covering the whole hill, are the 
remains of a primitive settlement of still greater antiquity, belonging to 
the Stone Age. In parts this Neolithic deposit was over 24 feet thick, and 
everywhere full of stone axes, knives of volcanic glass, dark-polished and 
incised pottery, and primitive images, such as those found by Schliemann 
in the lowest strata of Troy. 

The wonderful construction of the tombs which have been 
built in Greece, shows how sacred was the memory of the 
dead, and how valuable the knowledge of the Stone Age is, 
and how numerous were the survivals of that age in the speci- 
mens of art and architecture of the East, for the very tombs 
in which the royal treasures were buried, bore the shape of the 
conical huts which had prevailed in that age. The same is 
true in Egypt, Babylonia and other cities of the East. It is 
well known that the mastabah m which the mummies of royal 
persons were preserved, represented the huts which had pre- 
vailed in the Stone Age, and as a proof of it, the piece of pot- 
tery which represents a primeval house may be cited. The 
same is true of Rome, for here the beginning was a hut, for a 
piece of pottery representing the hut m which the shepherd 
gave shelter to the two brothers, Romulus and Remus, has been 
found. It is a hut-urn which resembles that belonging to the 
Lake-Dwellers of Switzerland during the Stone Age. 

The evidences of the Stone Age in Babylonia are lacking, 
but the explorers are approaching that age. The mounds in 
the plaza of Babylonia remind us of the Stone Age. 

It was in a mound at Nippur that a party of American ex- 
plorers began their work, and which has not ceased to throw 
light upon the records of the past. Through their presever- 
ence the date of history has been carried back at least 5,000 
years, and it has been discovered that writing was known 
2,500 years before the days of Abraham. 

Great libraries have been disclosed filled with tablets written 
in the cuneiform language, from which we have learned about 
kings and empires which had remained unknown for thousands 
of years. The Bible student who has not become familiar with 
the result of these explorations, which have continued up to 
the present time, is certainly deficient in many things, for these 
have given new settings for all the characters whose portraits 
are portrayed, and they assume far more importance than they 


ever did before. It was not in the infancy of the world that 
the Patriarchs lived, nor was it among a rude and barbarous 
people that the migrations took place, for there have been 
found beneath the great heaps of earth that stand by the 
Euphrates and Tigris, the remains of palaces which astonish 
us in their magnificence and size. 

Still, the fact that the stone knife was used in the rite of 
circumcision, and even human sacrifices had survived in 
Abraham's day, proves that the influence of the Stone Age 
was felt even by the Patriarchs as well as by the kings of Moab 

The writing dates back to 5000 B. C. B}' means of inscrip- 
tions we have been able to trace history back to this time, but 
the first construction of which we have evidence, is that of 
Ur Gur, about 2SC0 B. C. It was one of the most renowned 
and revered seats throughout the whole Babylonian and 
Assyrian period. Dr. Peters says: 

There were mounds which covered the site of an ancient city called 
Sirpurla, a tributary of Ur. An immense depo^it of inscribed clay tablets 
has been found ht-re. Several low mounds at Tello have also yie'ded a 
large number of relics which are important. These differ from those of 
the Stone Age, in that they show that writmg was common, and architecture 
was in a fair state of advancement. The court of columns discovered at 
Nippur, also shows that the archittctui e had passed beyond the Stone Age. 
Doorsockcts were also discovered here, and the oldest t»=niple in the world, 
the arch made out of crude bricks, designed to protect or cover a drain; 
also pavements and buttresses, causeways, gateways, towers, a ziggurat of 
several stages, and brick wails of thrt e different periods, pottery of various 
kinds, clav tablets, brick stamps, tablets that show a series of astrological 
records, shrines, a mysterious dwelling of the unsetn g d, emblem of the 
tabernacle above the clouds, a Babylonian palace of great extent and some 
architectural pretentions. 

Ur was not only the seat of the first temple, but was a great city of the 
first political importance, dominating Southern Babylonia about 4000 B. C. 
Eridu, which was at least as old as Ur, is represented by the ruined mounds 
of Nowawis on the edge of the Arabian Plateau. South of Eridu mav be 
mentioned but one city — Sippara, the ship citv, where the records were 
buried during the flood. Both Urand Eridu seem to have been at one time 
located near the sea, but they are at the present time 120 miles from it. 
From the later deposit we find that the cities would have stood on the 
shores of the sea about 7,000 B. C, but back of this we must conclude 
there was the Stone Age, the date of whose begining is unknown. 

All of these discoveries convince us that civ.lization had existed here 
many thousands of years before history began to be written elsewhere, 
showing that in this particular locality there was a progress which was equal 
to the Bronze Age and, perhaps, the Iron Age, as it first began to be knowu 
in other parts of the world, though the use of iron had not been discovered. 

The mounds of Babylonia were, as everybody knows, very 
different from those of America, for they contained the "ruins 
of lost empires," and were formed by the gradual accumula- 
tions of ruins, and were not made intentionally to cover up 
the remains of those who had died, or to preserve the relics 
of those who have lived; but the result is about the same. 

The distribution of the mounds and monuments brings us 
into other parts of the world. It is a remarkable fact that in 
China we find that the forms of the tents which constituted the 


homes ot the Chinese while they were in their nomadic state, 
are still preserved in the shapes of their temples and towers. 
This has been spoken of by many travellers and scholars. It 
is even maintained that the method of building the houses is, 
at the present day, the same as that which prevailed when tents 
were the only houses. 

There are mounds in China which reveal to as the earliest 
form of civilization which prevailed there. There are, to be 
sure, other signs which show that the Chinese came up from 
the Stone Age, and that they resembled the wandering tribes 
*vhich formerly existed on this continent, and dwelt in tents 
or huts as they did. 

There are mounds in China which remind us of those on 
our own continent. These mounds preserve the remains of 
the dead, and are very sacred because of the love of ancestors 
which is so strong. Confucius, the great philosopher and 
founder of the Chinese Empire, was buried in a mound, which 
still stands. 

It is probable that mound-building in China began when 
the people lived in tents, and that the mound in which Con- 
fucius was buried was a survival of the custom which had pre- 
vailed for many thousands of years, at least there are many 
mounds in Mongolia which resemble those which are common 
in America. This does not prove that the Mound-l^uilders, 
so called, came from China, though they may have sprung from 
the Mongolian race; yet it renders it probable that the races 
of America were descendents from the Mongolians. 

There are also mounds in Russia. They are called "Kurgans," 
but they are filled with the relics of the Stone Age. They show 
that the mound-building custom prevailed not only among the 
Slavonic tribes, but also among the Manchurians. Arctic 
regions seem to have been possessed by a Mongolian race. 
Dr. Pickering includes the American Indians among the Mon- 
golians. By most writers, however, the American Indians are 
held to be a distinct race, which from recent discoveries is 
supposed to have dwelt on either side of Behring Sea, and is 
called the "Behring Race"; while the Mongolians are re- 
stricted to the Tartar tribes, and the Mantchoos, Koreans, 
Chinese, Thibetans, Siamese, Finns, Laplanders, and Samoy- 
edes; all these tribes nations are supposed once to have been 
nomads, and many of them were mound-builders. 

The Japanese were accustomed to erect mounds over their 
dead, and these still remain as the monuments of the past, and 
are very instructive in reference to the history of that people. 
It appears that there were three different periods in Japan, the 
nrst of which was marked by cave-dwelling savages, who have 
been called "earth-spiders" or " earth-hiders." Ancient 
records contain many allusion to them. Mr. Romyn Hitch- 
cock has compared them to the pit-dwellers, who were older 
than the Ainus, as the pottery found in the Pit-dwellings was 



not made by the Japanese. It is older even than the tradition 
of the Japanese, and may be older than the Ainu occupancy. 
These "earth-dwellers" or "earth-spiders" were migratory, 
and may have been the same people who left the kitchen- 
middens in Japan, or they may have belonged to the so-called 
"ground race," which has been identified as distinct from the 
Mongolians, but similar to a race which occupied the north- 
west coast of America, who here built their houses over the 
excavations in the earth, and covered them with a pile of sods, 
making them resemble earth-mounds. 

Mr. W. H. Govvland, of the Imperial Mint at Osaka, has 
spent several years in the study of the Japanese mounds. He 
has divided the burial into three or four classes: First, in uiider- 


ground burrows; second, simple mounds of earth; third, 
mounds with rock chambers, or dolmens; fourth, double 
mounds, or imperial tumuli. The common mounds, or circu- 
lar heaps, are frequently found among cultivated fields and 
covered with trees. Those which contained rock chambers 
are usually built of rough unhewn stones, some of them of 
immense size. Long entrance passages are seen, through which 
one may walk upright for thirty or forty feet or more, some- 
times lead to the chambers, in which there may or may not be 
one, rarely two, stone coffins. 

When the covering of earth is removed from the burial 
chambers, it is found that they open through the passages, 
usually to the south; a fact which conveys the idea that the 
tomb was built in the form of a house, and that the houses 
especially those of the early inhabitants, ope leJ to the south 


The introduction of stone coffins occurred, according^ to 
Von Siebold, as early as 85 B. C, and continued until a late 
date. One stone coffin seems to be in the shape of a house. 
The upper part is in the form of a sloping roof, of the mansard 

The mounds 'vhich were the imperial burial places, are in- 
teresting because of their history. The plate represents a 
double mound at Osaka. The length is 485 feet along the top, 
the width is 78 feet. In the year 646, the size of the tombs 
which persons of different ranks might build, was specifically 
stated. A prince might be buried in a vault 9 feet long, 5 feet 
wide, covered with a mound 75 feet square and 40 feet high. 
A common functionary could have a mound only 56 feet square 
and 22 feet high. 

The custom of erecting a terraced mound began about the 
seventh century. These mounds are built up in three terraces. 
On the top of each was a fence formed of terra cotta pipes 
about two feet high, connected by wooden poles, which pass 
through holes about half way from the base. The cylinders 
were introduced to prevent washing down of the terraces. 
They were in use till the year 940 A. D., at which time clay 
coffins became common, which were afterwards changed to 
stone coffins. 

The mounds have yielded a great variety of articles which 
were buried with the dead, such as iron arrow-heads, iron ring? 
covered with bronze, silver swords, chains, glass beads, mirrors, 
and other relics. It was an ancient custom among the Japanese 
to bury the retainers and members of the family of a prince 
around his grave, a custom which was introduced from China, 
In the time of an Emperor of Japan, in 30 B. C, his brother 
died, and they buried all who had been in his immediate ser- 
vice, around his grave alive; but for many days they wept and 
cried aloud. The Emperor then said: " It is not good to bury 
living men standing at the sepulchre of a prince," and he pro- 
posed making clay figures of men and horses as substitvites. 

Mounds are very common in Europe, but are found mainly 
in the northern parts, along the coast of Brittany, in various 
parts of Great Britain, and in Denmark and Sweden. These 
exhibit to us the customs which prevailed in prehistoric times. 
We find from them that there was a Stone Age in Europe as 
well as in America, but it gave place to the Bronze Age, which 
was brought in by immigrants from the Old World, from East- 
ern Asia, and from the provinces about the Mediterranean, 
The mounds of Europe exhibit not only the change which 
occurred when the Bronze Age was introduced, but they show 
also the different stages of progress which appeared in the 
Stone Age. 

The people who dwelt in Brittany, in Great Britain, in Den- 
mark, in Norway and Sweden were also reached by immigrants 
from the south of Europe, and the Stone Age in ?ill those 



countries gave place to the Bronze Age. Still, there was a 
survival of the relics and structures of prehistoric times even 
into historic times. The standing stones of Carnac in France, 
are near ancient mounds, underneath which are dolmens. 
There are barrows in Denmark which contain funeral chambers. 
These were designed mainly to preserve the bodies of the dead. 
The progressive steps appear to be as follows: i. To cover 
the body with earth and heap stones over the top, to prevent 
its being devoured by wild beasts. 2. To enclose the body 
within slabs of stone. 3. To set up over the body a pillar of 
unhewn stone, or a table of rock on two or more uprights. 
4. To build a stone chamber in the shape of a house and cover 
the body with this. 5. To make the mound in the shape of a 
boat, to represent the sea-faring habits of the people. 6. To 



bury the boat with its equipments, with the body of the com- 
mander or seafarer in the boat. 7. To make the house itself 
into a tomb, and cover the tomb with a great mound; the 
possessions or furnishings of the house being buried with the 

By this means we learn the different habits and employ- 
ments of the people, as well as the different stages through 
which they passed. 

It is worthy of notice that in Scandanavia mounds have 
been discovered that belong to the Iron Age, some of which 
were the burial places of the Norse Sea Kings. 

One such mound was found in the parish of Tune over a 
century ago. It was (1865) about 13 feet high with a circum- 
ference of from 450 to 550 feet. In the mound was a vessel 



which stood on a level with the surrounding surface. Its posi- 
tion relative to the sea suggested that it was ready to be 
launched upon the element which had been its home, and was 
still under the command of its master. The articles found 
near the vessel showed that it was a ship tomb which belong- 
ed to the early Iron Age. The ship was carefully drawn out 
of the river to a place which could be seen at a great distance, 
ami commanded a iine view of the country, as well as the sea. 
After the space under the ship had been filled with earth, the 
body of the deceased was placed in the stern where, as captain 
lie had sat when alive. The beads and pieces of cloth indicate 
that the body was buried with the clothes on. By its side a 
horse and saddle and harness and snow skates were laid. Thus 
he had ship, horse saddle, and snow skates with him in the 
sepulchral tomb, so that he might chose whether he would ride 
or drive to Valhalla. 

Mounds have been discovered on the Northwest Coast, in 


California, and \arious localities on the western part of the 
continent, which greatly resemble those found in China, giving 
the idea that the custom may have been introduced from that 
direction. No other line has been traced along the Atlantic 
Coast further north than the St. Lawrence River, though the 
mounds of the Mississippi Valley greatly resemble those found 
in Great Britain, as can be seen from examining the cut which 
represents a burial mound in the Parish of Herefordshire, 

Now, this review of the mounds and their distsibution 
throughout the Old World is not intended to furnish a clue to 
the origin or age of the Mound-Builders of the New World; 
still, there are some useful hints which are worth considering 
before the subject is closed: 


T Tt has been shown that the mounds of many cities are 

hint of much greater anuqmty ^^^^^^ ^^ ^j_^ 

gr [ls^^:^l>oT,:iartr ra-efwiict w^:: Vur.e^a .neath 
the silent heaps ^^ Europe and Asia. were 

P''^. "'Thrtacrthat the earth mounds both in Europe and 

been solved^ and until it has been, we cannot expect to dec de 
about the r;ce connection and history, or wandermgs of the 

one phase of the Stone Age begms to be learned. 





— eCt — 


Xofe. TAe Shaded portions inrlicafe 


^^^ C^ '^f' 

''7, 'Mm 




Wimm < if 



> V // 

FIG. 1. 


"Mbuad. ab 


Binsboro Coi 

FIG. 2. 




We now come to the INIound-builders. It is well known 
that a people called Mound-builders once inhabited the interior 
of North America. Who this people were, whence they came, 
whither they went, are among the unsolved problems. An im- 
penetrable mystery hangs over their history. All that we know 
of them is learned from their structures, works and relics. To 
these mute witnesses we must resort if we are to learn anything 
of the character of this people. The first inquiry is, Who were 
the Mound-builders? This question will probably be answered 
in different ways, but before answering it we shall lefer to the 
points involved and leave it for our readers to draw their own 

We take up the division of the Mound-builders as the especial 
subject of this chapter. Let us first consider the name, however. 
The name "mound-builder" is a general one, indicating that there 
was once a people who were accustomed to build mounds. In 
this general sense there is much significance to the name, in 
that it suggests one characteristic or custom of the people. 
There is, however, a sense in which the word is used, which 
makes it very expressive, for it furnishes to us not only a picture 
of the mounds and earth-works, but also indicates much in ref- 
erence to the people. We may say in this connection that there 
are several such words in the archaeological vocabulary which 
have proved equally significant. To illustrate: We use the 
words " cave-dweller." "cliff-dweller," "lake-dweller," signifying 
by these terms not merely the fact that those people once lived 
in caves or cliffs or above lakes, but implying also that they had 
a mode of life, style of abode, stages of progress, which were 
peculiar and distinct. We infer from this, that the prehistoric 
age was divided into different epochs, and that each epoch was 
distinguished by a different class of structures. This interpre- 
tation may need to be modified, for there are certain indications 
that several representatives of the stone age may have been con- 


temporaneous. Still, the modes of life, occupations and hab- 
itations were the result of location and of physical surroundings 
rather than of "age" or stages of progress. While the stone age 
may be recognized among the Mound-builders, yet a subdivision 
of that age into epochs may be a safeguard against premature 
conclusions and unsafe theories, keeping us from extreme opin- 
ions. Our readers are aware that the Mound-builders were once 
supposed to have been a remarkable people, and allied with the 
historic and civilized races, but that latterly the opinion has gone 
to the other extreme, the low grade and rude civilization of the 
wild hunter Indians being frequently ascribed to the entire peo- 
ple, no distinction or limitation being drawn between them. We 
maintain, however, that the Mound-builders' problem has not 
been fully solved, and that, therefore, it is premature to take any 
decided position as to the actual character and condition of this 
mysterious people. All that we can do is to set forth the points 
which we suppose have been established and leave other conclu- 
sions for the future. 

I. The place where the works of the Mound-builders are most 
numerous is the Mississippi Valley. In a general way their 
habitat may be bounded by the great geographical features of 
this valley; the chain of great lakes tp the north, the Alleghany 
mountains on the east, the Gulf of Mexico on the south, and 
the Great Desert on the west. Within these bounds, mainly, do 
we find the structures which have given name to this strange 
people; and we may describe them as the ancient inhabitants of 
the Mississippi Valley who built mounds. There are barrows 
or mounds in Europe and in Asia. There are mounds or earth- 
works in Honduras, Yucatan and Central America, as well as in 
Oregon and on the northwest coast, but the structures in this 
region are distinctive, and peculiar to the inhabitants who dwelt 
he're. Nowhere else on the continent are they found in such 
great numbers. Nowhere else are they found so exclusively 
free from the presence of other structures. Nowhere else is such 
a variety of earthworks. To the eastward, along the coast of the 
Atlantic, there are earth-works, such as stockades, fortifications 
and village enclosures. To the westward, beyond the Rocky 
mountains, there are pueblos, rock fortresses and stone structures. 
To the northward, beyond the lakes, there are occasionally found 
walls and earth-works; but in the valley of the Mississippi those 
structures are discovered which may be regarded as distinctive. 
The peculiarities which distinguish these from others, aside from 
their being exclusively earthworks, are, first, their solidity; sec- 
ond, their massiveness, and, third, their peculiar forms. By these 
means the works of the Mound-builders are identified, and in 
their own territory, wherever a structure may have been erected 
by a later race, it may be known by the absence of these quali- 
ties. There are occasionally earth-works in the valley of the 






mrft ITS 
ra/lSlruc^e<^l'J E.G. Sgiiler.lSAl. 



Mississippi, especially through the northern part, bordering on 
the lakes, which were evidently built by the later Indians. Their 
resemblance, however, to the fortifications east of the Allegha- 
nies, and the evident design for which they were erected, as 
defensive or village enclosures, the unfailing spring attending 
them, the absence of any religious significance, and their want of 
solidity and massiveness, help to distinguish them from the 
works of the Mound-builders. 

We take the picture presented by this valley and find it strik- 
ingly adapted to the use of a class of people who were partially 
civilized. On either side are the high mountains, constituting 
barriers to their great domain. At the foot of the western 
mountains are the plateaus or table-lands, which have formed 
from time immemorial the feeding places for the great herds of 
buffaloes. In the northern portion of the valley, bordering upon 
the chain of the great lakes, are great forests abounding with 
wild animals of all kinds, which must have been the hunting- 
grounds of this obscure people. The center was traversed by 
the Appalachian range, which was the fit abode for a military 
class of people. Along the lines of the great streams were the 
many terraces, forming sites upon which the people could build 
their villages, and yet have access to the waters which flowed 
at their base. Many of these terraces were formed by the gravel 
beds left by the great glacial sea which once rested upon the 
northern portion of the valley Below the terraces, and all along 
the borders of the rivers, were the rich alluvial bottom lands 
which so favored the cultivation of maize and yielded rich return 
to a slight amount of labor. Broad prairies interspersed with 
forests and groves, and traversed by numberless streams gave 
variety to the scene. It was a region built on a grand scale and 
was capable of supporting a numerous and industrious popula- 
tion. We may suppose that the Mound-builders, when they 
entered it, were influenced by their surroundings, and that they 
soon learned its resources. We can not look upon them as 
merely hunters or wild savages, but a people who were capable 
of filling this broad domain with a life peculiar to themselves, and 
yet were correlated to the scene in which they were placed. 

Here, with a diversity of climate an abundance of products, 
the people led a varied life. They were to gain their subsistence 
from the great forests and from the wide prairies, and were to 
fill them with their activities. A river system which, for thou- 
sands of miles, drained the interior, furnished the channels for 
communication, and was evidently well understood by this peo- 
ple. A vast sedimentary basin, through which the rivers have 
Worn deep channels, leaving table-lands, cut by a thousand 
ravines, and presenting bluffs, head-lands, high hills, narrow 
isthmuses, detached island-like clifis, in some cases precipitous 
and difficult of access, furnished many places on which this peo- 


pie could build their defenses, covering them with complicated 
works resembling the citadels of the Old World, beneath which 
they could place their villages and dwell in safety. 

The number of these ancient villages is well calculated to ex- 
cite surprise. Ten thousand burial mounds or tombs were found 
in the single State of Ohio, and also a thousand or fifteen hun- 
dred enclosures in the same state. Nor is their magnitude less 
a matter of surprise than their number. Twenty miles ot em- 
bankment constitute one series of works. Walls sometimes 
thirty feet in height, and enclosing from fifty to four hundred 
acres, surround their fortifications. Pyramids one hundred feet 
in height, covering sixteen acres of ground, divided into wide 
terraces, three hundred feet long and fifty feet wide, vying with 
the pyramids of Egypt, formed the foundations for their great 
houses. Mounds formed their lookout stations, sixty and ninety 
feet in height. The variety of their works was great, and their 
distribution widespread. In one part of this wide domain there 
were game-drives, in which the animals hunted were erected in 
effigy. In another part were garden beds, covering hundreds of 
acres, and presenting many curious patterns ; in another, large 
groups and lines of burial mounds ; in another, many circles and 
fort-rings; in another, lodge circles and hut-rings; in another, 
village circles and dance-rings, interspersed with temple plat- 
forms ; in another, extensive enclosures, with domiciliary plat- 
forms; in another, groups of py'ramids, interspersed with fish 
ponds, surrounded by earth-walls. Everywhere was manifest a 
wonderful adaptation of the works to the soil and scenery and 
physical surroundings. Different grades of advancement were 
exhibited, but at the same time great activity and great skill in 
gaining subsistence. Every spot was well chosen and the works 
placed upon it were best adapted to the locality. 

II. A distinction between the races of the Mississippi Valley 
according to geographical lines is to be noticed, those north of 
the great lakes being generally identified with later tribes of 
wild hunter Indians; those which adjoin the lakes, and which 
extend from New York State through Northern Ohio to Michi- 
gan, also being ascribed to a military people resembling the 
Iroquois; those on the Ohio to a class of villagers who were 
more advanced than any ordinary Indians, and those of the 
Southern States to a class of pyramid-builders, who were the 
most advanced of all. The distinction is, however, not only 
geographical, but chronological, for there are relics which are 
as strictly military among the villages or sacred enclosures as 
among those in the homes of the warlike Indians, and there are 
tokens in the midst of the pyramids which indicate that modern 
hunters have roamed among the agricultural works, and that 
sun-worshipers and animal-worshipers have traversed the same 


A simple earth-wall, running around the brow of some gentle 
declivity, or the top of some precipice, or on the edge of some 
isolated island, presents a very different aspect from those struc- 
tures which are found oftentimes in the midst of large and fertile 
valleys, or upon many of the plats of ground where now stand 
some of the largest cities of modern days, and which, for mas- 
siveness and extent, surprise even those who behold them in the 
midst ot the works of civilized man. These earth-walls, or so- 
called stockades, we maintain, were the works of the later 
Indians, and can be easily distinguished from the earlier Mound- 
builders by certain unmistakable evidences. The same may be 
said also of the relics and other tokens. They may be found in 
the Mound-builders' territory, but were, many of them, of a later 
date and of a ruder character, and should be ascribed to a differ- 
ent people and not be confined to one date or race, much less 
to the so-called modern Indians known to history. 

In reference to this point we may say that the evidences are 
numerous that the people who built the mounds in the Missis- 
sippi Valley belonged to different races and occupied the country 
at different periods and may have come from different sources. 

(i.) The traditions of the Indians prove that the lands have 
been inhabited by different races and at different periods. These 
traditions prevail not only among the northern Indians, such as 
the Delawares, the Iroquois and the Algonkins, but also among 
the southern tribes, such as the Cherokees, the Creeks, Choc- 
taws and Muskogees, all of them indicating that there were later 
migrations and that other races were in the valley before these 
tribes reached it. The traditions of some of the Indians, espe- 
cially those of the south, point back to a period when their 
ancestors began the process of mound-building; with others the 
traditions point to a time when they began to occupy the mounds 
which had been built by another and a preceding people. No- 
where, however, is it claimed that the Indians were the first peo- 
ple who occupied the country or that their ancestors were the 
first race who built mounds. The evidence is clear that among 
the various tribes some of them, in the course of their migrations, 
had been led to abandon their particular mode of building mounds 
and had adopted the mode of the people whose territory they 
invaded, and thus the same class of structures continued under 
the successive races; but the beginning of the mound-building 
period is always carried back indefinitely, and is generally as- 
cribed to some preceding people. 

(2.) The relics and remains prove also a succession of races. 
This is an important point. A discussion has arisen among 
archaeologists as to who the Mound-builders were, and the idea 
has been conveyed by some that the Mound-builders were to be 
identified with this or that tribe which occupied the region at the 
opening of history. This, however, is misleading. It limits us 



to a very modern period and serves to cut off investigation into 
the more remote ages ol the mound-building period. 

Our position is that many of the mounds contain a record of 
successive periods of occupation, some of the burial mounds 
having been built by several different and successive tribes, and 
the layers in the mounds being really the work of different tribes. 
The prehistoric record is plain. The skulls and skeletons found 
near the surface we may regard as the latest tokens, some of 
them being quite modern, and the rude relics found in the gravel 
beds being regarded as the earliest tokens; but the mound-build- 
ing tokens extended through a long period of time. On these 
points we give the testimony of the various gentlemen who have 
explored these mounds. Prof Putnam says: " In the great Ohio 
Valley we have found places of contact and mixture of two 

Fig. IJ4. — AiiimaL Effigies. 

races and have made out much of interest, telling of conflict and 
defeat, of the conquered and the conquerors. The long, narrow- 
headed people from the north, who can be traced from the Pacific 
to the Atlantic, extending down both coasts, and extending their 
branches towards the interior, meeting the short-headed and 
southern race, here and there. Our explorations have brought 
to lieht considerable evidence to show that after the rivers cut 
their way through the glacial gravels and formed their present 
channels, leaving great alluvial plains upon their borders, a race 
of men, with short, broad heads, reached the valley from the 
southwest. Here they cultivated the land, raised crops of corn 
and veeretables, and became skilled artisans in stone and their 
native metals, in shell and terra-cotta, making weapons and or- 
naments and utensils of various kinds. Here were their places 
of worship. Here were their towns, often surrounded by earth 
embankments, their fixed places for burning their dead, their 
altars of clay, where cremation offerings, ornaments, by thou- 
sands were thrown upon the fire. Upon the hills near by were 


their places of refuge or fortified towns. Preceding these were 
the people of the glacial gravels. The implements which had 
been lost by preglacial men have been found in the Miami Valley, 
as in the Delaware Valley. This would seem to give a minimum 
antiquity of man's existence in the Ohio Valley from eight to 
ten thousand years. From the time when man was the con- 
temporary of the mastodon and mammoth to the settlement of 
the region by our own race, successive peoples have inhabited 
this valley."* 

III. We turn to the division of the Mound-builders' territory. 
This illustrates several things. It proves that the Mound- 
builders were, as we have said, greatly influenced by their envi- 
ronments and that their works were correlated to the geographical 
district. It proves also that there was, in a general way, a cor- 
respondence between the Mound-builder and the Indian, as differ- 
ent classes of earth-works and different tribes of Indians have 
been found in locations or in districts whose boundaries were 

Fig. 15. — Burial Mounds. 

remarkably similar. This, to some minds, would prove that the 
Mound-builders and Indians were the same people; but if we 
take mto account that there was a succession of races, and that 
each race was equally influenced by its environment, we may 
conclude that the effort to identify the later with the earlier peo- 
ple will require something more than mere geographical division. 
Let us now examine the earth-works of the different districts. 
(i.)The first system which we shall mention is that found in the 
State of Wisconsin, a State abounding with emblematic mounds. 
These mounds are confined almost exclusively to the small ter- 
ritory west of Lake Michigan, east of the Mississippi, south of 
the Fox River and north of the mouth of the Rock River, 
though a few have been found in Eastern Iowa and Southern 
Minnesota, on the land immediately adjoining the Mississippi 
River. The peculiarity of the mounds is that they so strangely 
resemble the forms of the wild animals formerly abounding in 
the territory. Very few, if any, extralimital animals are repre- 
sented in them. The position of these effigies is also noticeable. 
They are generally located on hill-tops overlooking the beautiful 
streams and lakes so numerous here. The attitudes of the animals 

•Twenty-second Report Peabody Museum, page 53. 



if- :lf.e.*"5: 

are represented by the effigies and the habits are portrayed by 
the shapes and associations of these earth-works. See Fig. 14. 
We enter this district and find a remarkable picture of animal 
life as it existed in the mound-building period. Elk and moose 
and the large grazing animals are portrayed as feeding; panthers 
and wolves are represented as fighting; wild geese, wild duck, 
eagles, swallows and hawks and pigeons as flying ; squirrels, 
foxes, coons, as playing and running; lizards, tadpoles, snakes 
and eels as crawling; fish and turtles as swimming, and yet all 
seem to have an indescribable charm about them, as if they had 
been portrayed by the hand of a superstitious people. 

The effigies may have been used as totems by the people, and 
thus show to us the animal divinities which were worshiped and 
the animal names given to the clans; but the clans and the ani- 
"TTf ._r.r^ •i..-;..:--^^-.-.^-?*-iv mals are remarkably correlated, 

the names of the very animals 
which prevailed here having 
been borne by the clans. More 
than this, the use of the effigies 
as protectors to villages, as aids 
to the hunters, and as guardians 
to graves, furnish an additional 
picture of the real life of the peo- 
ple. The attitudes of the ani- 
mals are always natural, portray- 
ing habits and even motions, but 
a condition is recognized beyond 
mere animal condition. 

In this same State we find the 
h'lu. m~Foriai conneaut. copper mincs, which have been 

worked, and the tools which were used, by the ancient miners. 
They were rude contrivances, and yet show the skill of the natives 
in overcoming obstacles. Without knowledge of the mechanical 
inventions of the wheel and pulley, without the art of smelting, 
or even of molding the precious metals, the Mound-builders of 
this region succeeded in manufacturing all the metal tools which 
were necessary for their purpose, being mostly tools used by 
hunters, such as knives, spear-heads, axes, chisels, awls, needles 
and a few ornamental pieces. It is a remarkable fact that imi- 
tative art was expended upon the effigies, which elsewhere em- 
bodied itself in stone relics or in metal ornaments. 

(2.) The second district is the one characterized by bui-ial 
mounds or ordinary tumuli. See Fig. 15. This is an interesting 
class of earth-works and may be designated as "prairie mounds." 
They are situated, to be sure, on the banks of streams, rivers, 
lakes, marshes, but they are in the midst ot the broad prairie 
region stretching across the north half of the States of Indiana, 
Illinois, all of Iowa, Minnesota, Dakota, part of Kansas and 



Missouri. This broad expanse of territory seemed to have been 
occupied by tribes of Mound-builders who merely erected burial 
mounds, but who, owing to their unsettled, migratory habits, did 
not even stop to build walled defenses for themselves ; their 
works consist mainly in tumuli, vast numbers of which are found 
scattered over this entire region. We do not say that they were 
entirely destitute of defense, for there are occsaional earth walls 
which show that there were permanent villages, but, in the main, 
defense must have been secured by stockades rather than by 
earth walls. Occasionally there are ridges or converging walls 
which resemble the game-drives of Wisconsin, and these furnish 
additional proof that the people were hunters.* The mounds 
occasionally present relics reminding us of the hunting habits of 
the people who erected them. 
Pipes in the shape of raccoons, 
prairie-dogs, beavers, turtles, liz- 
ards, eagles, hawks, otters, wild 
cats, panthers, prairie-chickens, 
ducks, and frogs, show that they 
were familiar with wild ani- 
mals. The relics which are most 
numerous are spear-heads, ar- 
row-heads, knives, axes and such 
other implements as would be 
used by wild hunters, with a very 
considerable number of copper 
implements — axes or celts, awls, 
knives, needles, and occasionally 

specimens of woven fiber, which Fig. 17.— Fort at wcymouin, o. 
might have formed the clothing for a rude people, and a few 
specimens of the higher works of art, but there is an entire 
absence of the symbols found in the mounds of the south. 

(3.) The third district is the one belonging to the military 
class of Mound-builders. This district formerly abounded in 
forests, and was especially adapted to warlike races. It embraces 
the region situated in the hill country of New York.f Pennsyl- 
vania and West Virginia, and extends along the banks of Lake 
Erie into the State of Michigan, See Figs. 16 and 17. 

The mode of life in these reg^ions was military. It was a 
necessity of their very situation. Here was the effect of nature 
upon the state of society which was inevitable. These works 
were military and defensive, as from the nature of their surround- 
ings they must be. The forests gave too much opportunity for 

e.-'S' ■'l^^^'r 

.-•.H-j-'af:''- '^»- - 

*They are generally built at leading points along the .«hore of the lakes or on the 
banks of the principal streams, and are found as far apart as Manitoba Lake and 
the Illinois River. We call them buffalo game-drives, and conclude that the Mound- 
builders of this district were buffalo hunters. See Archaeological .Journal for 1887, 
page 72; Smithsonian Report for 1870; also our book on Emblematic Mounds. 

t^^ee Aboriginal Monuments of Western New York, by E. G. Squier; also Cheney 
and Whittlesey's pamphlets. 



treachery to avoid it. Human nature, when dwelHng in such 
circumstances, would develop in this way. It made no difference 
what tribe dwelt there, there was a necessity for military habits. 
We can picture to ourselves exactly the condition of society. 
Whether the same or different tribes of people inhabited these 
regions, their mode of life was certainly dictated by circumstances. 
There were no means by which the people could overrule the 
forces of nature and gain control of her elements It was one 
of the peculiarities of prehistoric society that it was conformed 
altogether to nature. Civilization alone overrides the difficulties 
and makes the forces of nature obedient to her wants. We call 
these military structures comparatively modern, but we do not 
know how long they continued as a class. If there were those 

who led a different life 
: they were probably 
located in the valleys 
or on the borders of 
the streams,just where 
we find a few agri- 
cultural works. But 
the vast majority of 
works, whether very 
ancient or more mod- 
ern, are of the same 
class, military and de- 
fensive. Over 300 mil- 
itary structures are 
found in the single State of New York; and scattered over the 
mountains of Virginia and Eastern Tennessee and Kentucky, and 
everywhere where the hunting life and the warlike and predatory 
state would be most likely to prevail, there these military and 
defensive structures are found. 

The Iroquois, the Wyandots and the Eries were warlike peo- 
ple. The Cherokees were also warriors, and may be regarded as 
the mountain tribes of the east; while the Delawares and some 
of the tribes of the Algonkins inhabiting New England and the 
northeastern States led a mingled life, partly agricultural and 
partly hunting. Thus we have in these localities, at least, a cor- 
respondence between the state of the population and the physical 

(4.) The fourth district is the one most worthy of notice. It 
is situated in the valley of the Ohio, and is characterized by what 
have been called " sacred enclosures." We have given them the 
name of " village enclosures." The characteristic works of the 
district are composed of the square and two circles adjoined. 
See Fig. 18. These were evidently the village sites of the peo- 
ple who dwelt here and who practiced agriculture. The locations 
of the works show this. Most of them are situated on the sec- 

Fig. 18.— Village Enclosure of Ohio. 


ond terrace, overlooking the rich bottom lands, but often sur- 
rounded by wide, level areas, on which forests trees grew to a 
great height. On the hills adjoining these village sites the 
conical mounds are numerous. These are regarded as lookout 
stations. There are also in the same region many ancient forts. 
Some of them are so situated as to give the idea that they were 
places of refuge for the villages. 

There are, in the same region, certain enclosures, which con- 
tain groups of burial mounds, and in these mounds altars have 
been discovered, on which have been deposited large quantities 
of costly relics, in the shape of pearl relics, carved pipes, mica 
plates, copper spools, arrow-heads and many personal ornaments. 
These are the "sacred enclosures" which have given name to the 
district. In this district there are several truncated pyramids or 
platforms, with graded ways to the summits. These platforms 
have been called " temple mounds". The idea of some is, that 
the enclosures were places of religious assembly, resembling in 
a rude way the ancient Egyptian temples. At Marietta the en- 
closures are double. Within one are three platforms, and from 
it to the water's edge, or to the bottom land, is an inclined or 
graded roadway, guarded by high banks or earth-works on either 
side. At the other end of the group is the high lookout mound, 
surrounded by a circle, and a ditch within the circle. The group 
may have been the site of an ancient village, or it may be called 
a sacred enclosure. See Frontispiece. 

(5.) The fifth district is situated along the Atlantic coast, and 
extends from the coast to the Appalachian range. It is the dis- 
trict through which various Indian tribes have migrated and left 
their varied tokens beneath the soil. Among these tribes may 
be mentioned the Powhattans, the Cherokees, the Catawbas, the 
Tuscaroras, and a stray tribe of the Dakotas. It is marked by 
no particular class of works which can be called distinctive. 
There are in it, however, various circular enclosures containing 
conical mounds, resembling those in the fourth district These 
are found in the Kenawha Valley. Besides these are the remark- 
able circular grave pits, containing bee-hive shaped cists made 
of stone found in North Carolina, There are conical mounds 
in the district which are supposed to have been the foundations 
of rotundas, as posts for the support of rotundas have been found 
on the summit. The southern portion of the district is filled 
with shell mounds and earth pyramids. Considerable discussion 
has been had as to whether the inhabitants of this region were 
the Mound-builders of the Ohio district, and a comparison has 
been drawn between the altar mounds and earth circles in this 
district and those in Ohio, both having been ascribed to the 
Cherokees. This is a point, however, which remains to be 
proved. The works of the district must be ascribed to the dif- 
ferent races. 



(6.) We now come to the sixth district. This is situated south 
of the Ohio River, between this and the Cumberland and Ten- 
nessee. It is a mountamous and woody territory, and the people 
who formerly dwelt there may be called the mountain Alound- 
builders. The peculiarity of the works of this region is that they 
are mainly fortified villages. They are to be distinguished, how- 
ever, from the fortifications of the third district, and from the 
villages of the fourth district, by the fact that they combine the 
provisions for defense and for permanent residence in the same 
enclosure. The village enclosures in Ohio are double or triple, 
but those found in this district are always single. Their loca- 
tions show that they were chosen for defense, but their contents 
show that they were used for places of permanent abode. They 
consist largely of earth-walls surrounding enclosures, within 

Mg. 19. — Village of the Stone Grave People. 

which are pyramidal, domiciliary andburial mounds, all of which 
furnish proofs of long residence The custom of building stone 
graves and depositing relics with the dead was common here. 
Stone graves prevailed in many localities — in Illinois, Southern 
Indiana, Ohio and Northern Georgia — but were especially char- 
acteristic of this region. See Fig. 19. 

(7.) There is a district adjoining the one just described, which 
contains mounds and earth-works somewhat similar. The region 
is generally swampy, as the rivers here often overflow their 
banks and cover the whole country with floods. The Mound- 
builders dwelt here in great numbers, and built their villages on 
the sand ridges interspersed between the overflowed lands, and 
made their way out as best they could. Their villages, however, 
were large and numerous and showed permanent residence. The 
peculiarity of the earth-works was that the walls surrounded 
enclosures, within which were pyramids, conical mounds and 
many lodge circles. We may call it the district of lodge circles. 
In some of the conical mounds there have been found large 



quantities of pottery, and so the name of pottery-makers might 
be ascribed to the people. This pottery resembles that found in 
the stone graves and near the Cahokia mound, but is regarded 
as distinctive of this region. We may say that the district has 
been occupied by the Arkansas, the Kansas and Pani Indians, 
branches of the Dakotas, but it is unknown to what class the 
pottery-makers belonged. 

(8.) Intervening between these two district, and extending 
through the Gulf States, we find a series of large pyramidal 
mounds, of which Cahokia mound, near St. Louis, is a specimen. 
This region may have been occupied by the Natchez, a remark- 
able people who were known to 
have been sun- worshipers and pyr- 
amid-builders. Some of the largest 
groups of pyramids are located near 
the City of Natchez, the place which 
derived its name from the tribe. It 
is a region, however, where the 
Chickasaws and Choctaws, branches 
of the Muscogees, formerly dwe[t. 
This leaves the question as to who 
the builders of these pyramids 
were, still in uncertainty. 

The pyramids are supposed to 
have been occupied by the chiefs, 
and furnished foundations for the 
great houses or official residences. 
They are situated, however, in the 
midst of land subject to overflow, 
and have been explained by some 
as being places of refuge for the 
people in time of high water. 

In the eastern part of this dis- 
trict there is a class of works which differs from those in the 
western. Here we see the elevated platform, and along with it 
the circular mound for the temples, and between them oftentimes 
the chunky yard and public square, the usual accompaniments 
of a native village. See Fig. 20. The race distinction is 
manifest in this form of structure, and nowhere else do we find 
it. The tribes who dwelt in this region were the Creeks, a branch 
of the Muscogees. These works have been ascribed to the Cher- 
okees, who were located in the mountains. The Cherokees, 
however, maintain that they migrated to the region and took 
possession of the works which the Creeks and Muscogees had 
erected. They also maintain that their ancestors were Cave- 
dwellers, and describe the caves from which they issued. Dr. 
Cyrus Thomas holds that the Shawnees were in this regign in 
pre-Columbian times, and refers to the evidence furnished by 

FHg. CO.— Chunky Yard. 


the relics found in the stone graves, and especially those found 
m the Etowah mound in Georgia, as proof The Shawnees were, 
however, late-comers, belonging to the Algonkin stock, a stock 
marked by narrow skulls. They were preceded by the Musco- 
gee stock — a people with broad skulls. It was a tradition among 
the Muscogees that they migrated from the west and found the 
country occupied before them, while their ancestors issued from 
a sloping hill at the command of their divinity, who stamped 
upon its summit, and erected the pole, which led them through 
their wanderings. In reference to the Gulf States Col. C. C. 
Jones, who has written a book upon the antiquity of the Southern 
Indians, says that the tribes were only occupying works which 
had been erected by a preceding and different class of people. 
" Even upon a cursory examination of the groups of mounds 
with their attendent ditches, earth walls, fish preserves, it is 
difficult to resist the impression that they are the remains of a 
people more patient of labor, and in some respects superior to 
the nomadic tribes who, within the memory ot the whites, cling 
around and devote to secondary uses these long-deserted monu- 
ments." This remark was made after diligent study of the 
writings left by the historian of De Soto's expedition and of 
Adair and Bartram and comparing them with the evidence given 
by the monuments themselves. 




One of the first questions asked of the arohaeologists concern- 
ing the Mound-builders is, What was their probable age? The 
question is a very natural one, but, in the form generally given, 
exhibits a misunderstanding of the general subject. It implies 
that the Mound-builders were all one people, and that they 
spread over the continent at a particular and definite time. We 
have already shown that there were many classes of Mound- 
builders, and that there were different periods of time — a succes- 
sion of population being one of the plainest facts brought out 
by archaeological investigation. The answer to the question is 
to be secured by the study of the Mound-builders as they ap- 
peared at different dates in the mound-building period. The age 
of the Mound-builders includes not one specific date, but covers 
many epochs. 

' We maintain that there was a Mound-builders' age in this 
country, and that it is as distinctive as was the neolithic age in 
Europe. The neolithic age was founded on the discovery of 
a certain class of relics, relics which had a certain degree of 
polish and finish about them; the material of the relics making 
the age distinctive. The bronze age was founded on the discov- 
ery of bronze relics in the midst of neolithic relics, the material 
and finish of the relics making them distinctive So the Mound- 
builders' age is based on the prevalence of the earth heaps which 
contain within them the relics of a prehistoric race. The character 
of the relics as well as the material of which the works were 
composed, makes the Mound-builders' age distinctive. 

I. As to the naming of these periods there is some uncertainty, 
but the following facts may help us to appreciate it. In Europe 
the paleolithic age continued after the close of the glacial period. 
It began with the gravel beds, and embraced all the relics found 
in those beds, extended through the period of the cave-dwelling, 
embraced nearly all the cave contents; it reached up to the time 
of the kitchen middens, and embraced the relics found in the 
lower layers. It is divided into various epochs, which are named 
differently. The English named them after the animals asso- 
ciated with the relics, into the epochs of the cave-bear, mammoth 
and reindeer. The French named them after the caves in which 
they were found, making the name of the caves descriptive of 
the relics. 



The Chellean relics are more easily distinguished than others, 
and are recognized by some as belonging to a distinct period, 
a period when the mammoth, rhinoceros and cave-bear prevailed 
in Europe. These stand alone and belong to an earlier geolog- 
ical period than the rest of the Cave-dwellers' relics. A number of 
objects discovered at Moustier, at Solutre and at La Madeleine 
mark a second and a third period of the paleolithic age. 

In America the paleolithic age preceded the neolithic, as in 
Europe. It may be divided into three epochs : i . The pre-glacial, 
the epoch in which the relics were deposited in loess. 2. The 


80 Feet 

Scale Si feet to the incli. . 
Mg. 1.— Elephant Mffiyy. 

glacial, an epoch in which the relics were deposited in gravel. 
3. The Champlain, an epoch in which the relics were deposited 
upon the summit of the hills and above the glacial gravels. 

The American archaeologists name them after the character 
of the gravels in which they are found, as well as the character 
of the relics. It may be said that the subdivision of the 
paleolithic age in America has not been fully established. There 
seems to be some uncertainty as to the' French and English 

♦Evidence is increasing to show that the paleolithic people continued after the 
glacial period, as flint relics which are chipped so as to make tools of various kinds, 
have been found in the beds of the water courses in Iowa and elsewhere. These per- 
haps should be assigned to the Champlain epoch. They were followed by the Cave- 
dwellers, who lett their relics and remains in the shelter caves of Ohio, Kentucky 
and Tennessee, and other localities. Bone implements were common among this 
people, but not naany metal relics. The shell heaps of Florida and Maine may have 
Delonged to the people who followed the Cave-dwellers. The people who left the fire 
beds in the bottom lands of Ohio at various depths :below the surface followed the 
Cave-dwellers. The Mound-builders came in about this time. They were a neolithic 
people, and were probably immigrants from some other country. Four lines of mi- 
gration have been recognized among the Mound-builders: One from the northeast 
to the southwest; another from the northwest to the southeast; a third from the 
soutliwest to the northeast; a fourth Irom the southeast, north and west. 



Naming the periods after the animals is suitable to America, 
though the animals would be different from those in Europe. 

In Europe the cave-bear, 
mastodon and the rein- 
deer made three epochs. 
In America the megathe- 
rium found in Brazil.jthe 
mastodon found in the 
gravel beds and peat- 
bogs, and the buffalo, 
now almost extinct, mark 
three different epochs. In 
Europe, the paleolithic 
age was contained within 

\Figs. 2 and S.— Obsidian Arrows from Idaho* .1 . • 1 

■' the quartenary period, 

and came to an end before the beginning of the present geologic 
period. It was followed by the neolithic age. The character- 
istic of this age was that polished stone relics, such as hatchets, 

Figs. 4, 5, 6 and 7. — Shell Beads from Mounds, 

celts and finely-chipped arrows, spear-heads and a fine class of 
pottery abounded. Another characteristic was that mounds were 
common. Shell heaps marked its beginning, chambered mounds 
its end. The bronze age followed the stone age. This began 
with the lake-dwellings and continued 
through the time of the rude stone monu- 
ments, and up to the historic age. Bronze 
was the material which characterized the 
age, a material which was not made in 
Europe, but was brought from Asia and 
was re-cast. No less than fifty-seven found- 
ries of bronze have been discovered in 
France and a large number in Italy; one at Bologna having no 
less than 14,000 pieces broken and ready for casting. The hatchets 
were cast in molds, with wings for holding the handle, and many 
of them with sockets and eyes by which they could be lashed to 

© cmnmnmi* 

Fiy. 8,— Bone Needles. 

*Prof. E L. Berthoud discovered a number of obsidian relics on the Upper Madison 
Fork in Idaho. He says : "I have gathered some very characteristic obsidian im- 
plements on Lake Henry and Snake River, which I transmit. 1 have always under- 
stood that the presence of obsidian relics in Kansas, Colorado, Nebraska, Wyoming 
and Utah was due to the probable intercourse of the Aztec races with the more 
northern tribes. I am now satisfied that they were derived from the Yellowstone 
and Snake Rivers, rather than from New and Old Mexico. In the National Park 
Prof. Hayden found a gorge in the mouutalns which was almost entirely formed of 
volcanic glass; they have aptly named it 'Obsidian Canon'." — Proceedings of Daven. 
port Academy, Vol. Ill, Part II. 


the handle. The neolithic age in America began with the close of 
the paleolithic and ended with the historic period. The polished 
stone relics found in the auriferous gravels of California, such as 
steatite ollas, mortars and pestles, and those found under the lava 
beds, belong to this age. They constitute one class of neolithic 
relics, and may be assigned to one epoch of the neolithic age. 
We maintam that the Mound-builders in America represented 
one epoch, perhaps the earliest of the neolithic age. This age 
began some time after the glacial period and ended about the 
time of the advent of the white man, but embraced about all the 
time which the neolithic age occupied in Europe. Nearly 

all the relics found in the Mis- 
sissippi Valley, such as arrow- 
heads, spear-heads, knives, pol- 
ished stone axes, celts, carved 
stone pipes, many specimens of 
pottery, the shell gorgets and the 
drinking vessels, the pieces of 
copper, ornamented and unorna- 
mented, the mica plates, many of 
the bone implements, the needles 
and awls, the silver ornaments, 
and the few specimens of gold* 
and meteoric iron, belong to the 

Fig.9.-PoUery Vase. Mound-builderS. Neolithic rclicS 

are found in the mounds; though some of them, of the ruder 
class, are found in the fire beds and shelter-caves. Specimens of 
the neolithic age are picked up indiscriminately upon the surface. 
The aborigines of America were in this age. The cliff-dwellings 
and pueblos must be assigned to this age. They constitute a 
second division, the Mound-builders being assigned to the first. 
The relics of the Cliff-dwellers are not much in advance of those 
of the Mound-builders, but their houses show an advanced stage 
of architecture. A third division of the neolithic age may be 
recognized among the civilized races of Mexico and Central 
America, though these are by some archaeologists ascribed to 
the bronze age. It appears that the division of the neolithic age 
in America corresponded to that in Europe ; the Mound-builders, 
Cliff-dwellers and the civilized races constitute the three parts 
of that age, as the barrows, the lake-dwellings and the rude stone 
monuments did in Europe. It may be that two preceding periods 
should be assigned to the caves and fire beds, which corres- 
ponded to the caves and kitchen middens. f 

*Dr. Charles Rau describes a gold ornament found in a mound in Florida, repre- 
senting the bill of an ivory billed woodpecker, the material of which was made dur- 
ing the second period of Spanish supremacy. It was taken from the center of the 
mound, and furnishes evidence that Mouud-building was continued after the occu- 
pation by Europeans. Prol. Jeffries Wynian has, however, spoken of the remains of 
the great auk in the shell mounds of Maine and the absence of any article which 
was derived from the white man. See American Naturalist, Vol. I. 

tSome of the shelter caves and the terraces of Ohio seem to have been occupiedjby 



II. The part which the Mound-builders performed in connec- 
tion with the neoHthic age. The Mound-builders, in a technical 
sense, are to be confined to the Mississippi Valley, There are, 
to be sure, many mounds and earth-works on the northwest 
coast, others in Utah, and still others scattered among the civil- 
ized races in Mexico, but the Mound-builders as such were the 
inhabitants of this valley. We shall see the extent of their 
territory if we take the mounds of the Red River Valley as one 
stream and follow the line across the different districts until we 
reach the mounds of Florida. This is the length of their terri- 
tory north and south; the breadth could be indicated by the 
Allegheny mountains upon the east and the foot-hills of the 
Rocky mountains upon the west, for all this range ol territory 

tig. 10. — Hoes from Tennessee. 

belonged to the Mound-builders. Within this territory we have 
the copper mines of Lake Superior/ the salt mines of Illinois 
and Kentucky,^ the garden beds of Michigan/ the pipe-stone 
quarries of Minnesota,' the extensive potteries of Missouri," the 
stone graves of Illinois,*^ the work-shops, the stone cairns, the 
stone walls, the ancient roadways, and the old walled towns of 
Georgia," the hut rings of Arkansas,' the shelter-caves of Ten- 
nessee and Ohio,' the mica mines in South Carolina," the quar- 
ries in Flint Ridge in Ohio,^^ the ancient hearths ot Ohio,^" the 
bone beds^^ and alabaster caves in Indiana,^* the shell-heaps 
of Florida,^' oil wells and ancient mines, and the rock inscrip- 
tions" which are scattered over the territory everywhere. 

We ascribe all of these to the Mound-builders and conclude 
that they were worked by this people, for the relics from the 

a rude people, whose remains are buried in the debris, for layers ef ashes have been 
found having great depths. The fire beds and stone graves have been found at 
various depths beneath the river bottoms.— ,l/(a»u' GcizcUe, Jan. 20, 1S02. See Smith- 
sonian Report, 1874. R. 8. Robinson; Peabody Museum. 8lh Report, F. W. Putnam. 
The Mammoth cave and other deep caves have yielded mummiesand other remains 
which may have belonged to this antecedent period.— CV3?/(>i.s' History of Kevtitrky. 

The great auk, Prof. Wyman says, survived until after the arrival' of the Euro- 
peans. Pottery is poorly represented; ornamentation is of the rudest kind; the 
shell heaps yielded lew articles of stone; implements of stone are common in Flor- 
ida. A domesticated animal was found with eatables. 

1 See Foster's Prehistoric Races, p. 265. 2 Ibid., p. 249. .3 See American Antiquar- 
ian, Vols I and VII 4 Geol. Rep. of Minnesota, Vol. I, pp. 151 and 555. 5 See Prof. 
Swallow's article, Peabody Mu.seum, Sth rep., and Arch, of Mo., 18S0. G See Sm. Rep. 
1866. 7 See C. C, Jones and .lames Moonev's 9ih An. Rep. of Eth. Bu., also Am 
Anthro.. Vol. II, p. 241. See Am. Ant.. Vol. XIII No. 6., H. S. Halbert. S See Palmer 
in Eth. Bu.. 9th An. Rep. of A. A. .Vol. Ill, p. 271, in Iowa. 9 See Robinsin's article, 
Sm. Rep., 1874, p. 367; A. A., Vol. II,'p. 203. 10 See Report bv James Mooney, 9th An. 
Eth. Bu. Rep.; 12th Rep. Pea. Museum. 11 SeeAmerif-an Antiquarian, Vol. II, p. 95 
12 Ibid., Vol VI, p. 101. 13 Ibid., Vol. VIII, p, 6J. 14 Ibid., Vol. III. 15 Ibid.. Vol 
II. p. 257. 16 Ibid., Vol. XI, J S. Newberry, p. 165. 



mines and quarries are found in the mounds. Besides these relics 
we find others which were received by aboriginal trade ; obsidian 
knives and arrows (see Figs. 2 and 3) from Idaho; jade axes 
from an unknown source, carved specimens which seem to have 
come from Mexico; shells* and wampum (Figs. 4 to 7) from the 
gult of Mexico ; specimens of art which show connection with the 
northwest coast and carved pipes which show familiarity with 
animals and birds from the central provinces. The Mound- 
builders were the chief representatives of the neolithic age, vying 
with the Cliff-dwellers in a grade of civilization, but having a 
much more varied culture than they. Their territory extended 
over more land than any other class of people known to the pre- 
historic age, and their art presents more variety than any other 

The cuts represent the character of the relics taken from the 
mounds. The pottery vase (Fig. 9) is trom a mound in Michi- 
gan and shows the high stage of art reached there. The hoes 

and sickles (Figs. 10 and 
1 1) are from mounds in 
Tennessee and show the 
agricultural character of 
the people. The banner 
stone and silver orna- 
ment (Figs. 12, 13 and 
14) are from mounds in 
Florida. A. E. Doug- 
lass thinks the silver or- 
nament was modern. We 
place these cuts along- 
side of the elephant pipes 
and other relics to show 

Fig. ll.-Sickles from Tennessee. ^^^ j^^^^^ ^^ ^^^ ^^^ 

of the Mound-builders. Some of them were evidently quite 
ancient and others were very modern. 

III. As to the antiquity of the Mound-builders, we may say 
that dates are always difficult to fix. We can not give them 
definitely. We imagine that the Mound-builders were the first 
people who occupied the territory after the close of the glacial 
period, that they followed hard on to the paleolithic people, that 
no other race intervened. This is, however, a matter of conjec- 
ture. Our reasons for holding this are as follows: i. The 
appearance of the mastodon and mammoth. We contend that 

*W. H. Pratt has described worked shells from Calhoun County, Illinois, also shell 
beads from mounds at Albany (Figs. 4, 5 and 6), and wampum from mounds in 
Florida (Fig. 7), which he thinks were used as currency, giving the idea that wam- 
pum existed in the Mound-builders' time; others think wampum was introduced by 
the white man. The value of the beads was owing more to the work placed upon 
them than to the rarity of the shells. Copper beads found in the mounds at Daven- 
port contained the cord upon which they were strung. This would indicate that the 
beads were somewhat recent. 


these animals and the Mound-builders were contemporaneous. 
The only age which intervened between the glacial period and 
the Mound-builder's period is to be called the mastodon's age. 
We are ready to acknowledge that a long time must have elapsed 
between the glacial age and the Mound-builders, but in the ab- 
sence of proof that any other inhabitants occupied the territory 
we ascribe the time or period to the mastodon and mammoth. 
The paleolithic people may indeed have survived the glacial 
period and been also contemporaneous with the mastodon, the 
real age of the mammoth and mastodon covering the whole of 
the paleolithic age and overlapping the Mound-builders, the 
first being the age in which 
tne mastodon was numerous. 
Certain writers have denied 

this, and have argued that so ^ 

long an interval of time elapsed 

between the Mound-builders ^^/ 

and the close of the glacial age .^ -^ 

that the mastodon disappeared 
altogether, that the buffalo 
was the animal which was 
distinctive of the Mound- 
builder's age, and the masto- 
don was the animal distinctive i \ 
of the paleolithic age. Their 
arguments are as follows: The 
forests which have spread over 

the northern half of the /i i>\ 

Mound-builders' territory are 

in places very dense. During , _^«--^ 

the glacial period this region 

11 r • i-u F^V- 12.— Banner Stoue from Florida. 

was covered by a sea ol ice, the 

ground must needs settle and be covered with alluvial before the 
forests would grow. The forests could only gradually appear, the 
distribution of seeds and the springing up of the saplings being 
a slow process. Another argument is taken from analogy. In 
Europe the period of the gravel beds was supposed to be the 
same as the glacial period and marked the beginning of the pale- 
olithic age. There were, however, between the gravel beds and 
the age of the barrows three or four different epochs — the cave- 
dwellers, the people of the kitchen middens and the lake-dwellers 
— the progress having been gradual between the periods.* In 

*Col. Whittlesey speak of three periods: The early drift period which belonged to 
primitive man; the period of the Mound-builders, whose antijjuity is from four to 
five thousand years, with slight evidence of an intervening race between the Monnd- 
builders and primitive man; and the period of the red man. The evidence of man 
more ancient than the Mound-builders he finds in the fluviatile deposits, which were 
above the fire beds on the Ohio river, to the depth of twelve or fifteen feet. The same 
evidence is given by Prof. Vv\ti\?im.~ Article read before the American Association in 
Chicago, 1S6S. 




America the change was more sudden, for the tokens which are 
found in the auriferous gravels are much more advanced than 

any found in the gravel beds of Europe. 
They correspond to the relics of the lake- 
dwellers and the barrows. The Mound- 
builders' relics are also much more advanced 
than those of the gravel beds in the same 
territory, and the supposition is that there 
must have been either an intervening period 
in which mound-building was not prac- 
ticed, or that there was an immigration of 
the Mound-builders into this territory from 
some other part. We acknowledge that 
there are some facts which favor this sup- 
position or idea that there were inhabitants 
intervening between the rude paleolithic 
people and advanced Mound-builders who 
corresponded to the people of the kitchen 
middens and to the earlv lake-dwellers. 
Mff. is.-siiver Ornament.* p^ggibly we shall find that the fire beds of the 

interior and the kitchen middens of the sea coast were deposited 
during this period, and the divisions of time may be identified by 
these tokens. We maintain that the close of 
the glacial period was not so sudden as 
some imagine. There may have been a 
littoral class of fishermen who were the 
occupants before the close of this period. 
They followed aftertheiceas it disappeared, 
leaving their shell heaps on the coast and 
their fire beds in the interior. In favor of 
this we may mention the fact that the tooth 
of a polar bear and the bones of the auk, 
both of which are animals that occupy the 
arctic regions and inhabit the ice fields, 
have been found in a shell heap on the 
coast of Maine, thus proving that there 
were inhabitants when the ice reached as 
far south as that point. The mastodon evi- 
dently inhabited the country long before the 
glacial period. It survived that period and ^'^- ^''-'^•'"'"- omament. 
may have existed during the time the land was becoming settled 

*Mr. {Jeo. F. Kiinz has described a sold object resembling a shield, tal<en from a 
mound in Florida, an ear disc of silver, a triangular silver ornament, a flat bar of 
silver, all taken from mounds in Florida, Mr. Douglas has spoken ol circular plates 
from Halifax river; Col. C. C. Jones of silver beads, not European, from Etowah val- 
ley. Mr. Douglas thinks that the silver specimens were taken from wrecked vessels 
after the discovery, and relers to a specimen found on an island near Florida, which 
has the marks of modern wormanship upon it. The etchings of the cross orbis 
mundi and the heart may be attributed to the Spanish priests, though the moons on 
the opposite side were native symbols. He says that the four ornaments described 
by Mr. Kunz were associated with European manufacture. See American Antiquar- 
ian, Vol. IX, page 219. 



and until it was covered with forests and became inhabited by- 
wild tribes. During this time the peat beds and the swamps 
were their favorite resorts; many of them became mired in the 
swamps and were attacked by the natives. These natives were 
acquainted with fire, and used rude stone implements — arrows 
and spear heads. As the mastodon retreated northward the 
hunters also migrated and became the denizens of the forests of 
the northern districts. This accounts foi the scarcity of images 
of the elephant and mastodon among the southern Mound- 
builders, and for the images of the same animals among the 
northern Mound-builders. 

We have mentioned the find of Dr. Koch of the mastodon in 
the Gasconade swamp of Missouri. This was an important find. 
Dr. Koch says there were remains of fire- stones and arrow-heads 
near the bones, showing that the animal had been hunted by the 

Fig. 15.— Nondescript Animal from the Mounds * 

people then living. Dr. Koch made the statement that this 
animal was capable of feeding itself with its fore-teet, after the 
manner of the beaver or otter. This statement was doubted at 
the time, and seemed to cast discredit upon the entire find. It 
now proves very important. In a late number of the Scientific 
American is a description of the Newberg mastodon, in which 
this very peculiarity is noticed.f The writer says: "The most 
important comparison is in the aspect of the fore-limbs. In the 
elephant the fore-limbs are columnar, as are the hind-limbs. In 
the mastodon there is a decided aspect, more or less, of prehen- 
sile capacity (as it were), that is, the latter have the fore-feet 
approaching the plantigrade in aspect, and were correspondingly 
adapted for pronation. Of course this is slight, but it shows the 
difference in probable habits. The fore-limbs of the mastodon 
with such development, we should expect, would be able to be 
thrown over the low foliage or brush-wood, and a crushing 
effected by the somewhat expanded manus. No such movement 
could be effected by elephas. As much as we naturally compare 

*The animal contained in the cut, with a bill resembling a duck, was found by 
a farmer while plowing over Mound No 3. It is a natural sandstone concretion 
fastened upon a thin piece of liglit-brown flint. The eyes are of quartz, fastened on 
with some kind of cement. They give a fierce look to the creature. 

tSee Scientific American, January, 1892, article by Dr. J. B. Holden. 



the two great creatures, and especially as both have similar nasal 
development, a near view of both together shows many differ- 
ences in form.." 

2. The survival of the mastodon. J. B. Holden says: "In nearly 
every State west of New England portions of this creature have 
been disinterred. And every year there are several found, more 
or less in a state of complete preservation. The circumstance 
of several skeletons having about them evidence of man's work 
is extremely interesting.* On one account, it brings the date, 

though greatly indefinite, to man's exist- 
ence. We are therefore able to say man 
and mastodon are contemporaneous. We 
have not determined what sort of man 
made those stone arrow-heads which 
struck the life out from the great carcasses 
and lie among their remains. We have 
not a knowledge of what sort of man 
made the charcoal which was found lying 
among the partly burned bones of a 
mastodon, but we do know that some 
man made the arrow-heads. And we 
know also that no other than man is 
capable of making charcoal, or even to 
make fire by which it is formed." 

Prof Barton, of the University of Penn- 
sylvania, discovered the bones of a mas- 
todon at a depth of six feet, and in the 
stomach of the animal he found a mass 
of vegetable matter, composed of leaves 
and branches, among which was a rush, 
now common in Virginia. Wincheli says: "The ancient lakelets 
of Michigan enclose numerous remains of the mastodon and 
mammoth, but they are sometimes so near the surface that one 
could believe them to have been buried within 500 years. The 
mastodon found near Tecumseh lay but two feet and a half be- 
neath the surface. The Adrian mastodon was buried about three 
feet. The Newberg (New York) mastodon just beneath the soil 
in a small pool of water." 

Prof. Samuel Lockwood, of Freehold, New Jersey, has spoken 
of the life range of the m.astodon. He has shown that this ani- 
mal was living at a period well up into the recent geologic time. 
It came in with the great extinct fossil-beaver, which it outlived, 
and became contemporary with the modern beaver. It lived to 
be contemporary with the American aboriginal men and probably 
melted away before the presence of man. Prof Lockwood dis- 

Fig. 16.— Copper Axe. 

*The two pipes ■which have been found and which are now in the Davenport Acad- 
emy, may represent the two classes of animals; the one Mastodon Giganteus, the 
Elephas Pririiigeniiis, if so, they are all valuable finds. 



covered a mastodon in a beat bog, near by a fossil-beaver dam, in 
such circumstances as led him to suspect that the mastodon had 
been actually buried by the beavers.* 

Prof. Shaler says: "Almost any swampy bit of ground in 
Ohio or Kentucky contains traces of the mammoth or mastodon. 
The fragments of wood which one finds beneath their bones 
seem to be of the common species of existing trees, and the 
reeds and other swamp-plants which are embedded with their 
remains are apparently the same as those which now spring in 
the soil. They fed upon a vegetation not materially different 
from that now existing in the region. f Prof. Hall says: "Of 
the very recent existence of this animal there seems to be no 
doubt. The marl beds and muck swamps, where these remains 
occur, are the most recent of all superficial accumulations. 

Fig. 17 .—Elephant Pipe, found in a Corn-field. 

Dr. John Collet says that in the summer of 1880 an almost 
complete skeleton of a mastodon was found in Iroquois County, 
Illinois, which goes far to settle definitely that it was a recent 
animal and fed upon the vegetation which prevails to-day. The 
tusks were nine feet long, twenty-two inches in circumference, 
and weighed 175 pounds; the lower jaw was nearly fifteen feet 
long; the teeth weighed four or five pounds; each of the leg 
bones measured five feet and a half, indicating that the animal 
was eleven feet high. On inspecting the remains closely, a mass 
of fibrous matter was found filling the place of the animal's stom- 
ach, which proved to be a crushed mass of herbs and grasses 
similar to those which still grow in the vicinity. A skeleton 
was found by excavating the canal, embedded in the peat, near 
Covington, Fountain County. Indiana. When the larger bones 
were split open the marrow was utilized by the bog-cutters to 
grease their boots. Chunks of sperm-like substance occupied 
the place of the kidney fat of the monster.;}; 

•See Proceedings A. A. A. A., 31st meeting. Montreal, 18S2, Part II, p. 2fi5. 

tSee Amer. Nat., pp. 605-7. Also, Epocti of the Mammoth, by J. U. Souihall, p. 103 

JSee Geological Report of Indiana, 1880, p. 3K4. 



These discoveries convince us that the mastodon survived the 
glacial period, and may have been contemporaneous with the 

IV. Were the Mound-builders contemporaneous with the 
mastodon ? This is a disputed point, and considerable feeling 
has been raised in the contention. There have been reports of 
the images of the mastodon and mammoth; but the genuineness 
of the finds has been disputed, and is still with some a matter of 
doubt. Were we to discriminate between these, however, accept- 
ing some as genuine, others as doubtful, we might reach a safe 
conclusion. The history of these discoveries is about as follows: 
In 1874. Mr. Jared Warner found upon the bottom-land of the 
Mississippi, near Wyalusing, an effigy which was called an ele- 
phant. He, in company with a number of gentlemen, measured 
and platted it, and sent a drawing of it to the Smithsonian Insti- 
tute.* Mr. Warner says : "It has been known here lor the last 


cl e / d 

Section of Mound. — A, first grave; B, second grave; a, limestone one foot below 
the surface; b, human remains, probably Indians; c, upper shell bed; d, lower shell 
toed; c, cavity on north side of grave A; /, position of tablets. 

Fig. 18. — Section of Mound. 

twenty-five years as the elephant mound." "The head is large, 
and the proportion of the whole so symmetrical that the mound 
well deserves the name. The mound was in a shallow valley 
between two sandy ridges, and was only about eight feet above 
high water." There are many mounds in this section of country 
in the shape of birds, bears, deer and foxes. We would say that 
the effigy of the bear, which is very common here, and which 
was the totem of the clan formerly dwelling here, has exactly 
the same shape as the so-called elephant, but is not so large and 
lacks the proboscis. The projection at the nose called the pro- 
boscis is not really one, but is the result of the w-ashing of the soil. 
It was a mere prolongation of the head, had no curve, did not 
even reach so far as the feet, and can be called a proboscis only 
by a stretch of imagination. There is no evidence whatever 
that it was intended to represent a proboscis. The size of this 
mastodon is as follows: length 135 feet, from hind-feet to back 
sixty feet, from fore-feet to back sixty-six feet, from end of snout 

*The report was published in 1875. The gentlemen who accompanied Mr. Warner 
were Mr. J, C. Orr and Mr. J. C. Scott. 



to neck or throat thirty-one feet, from end of snout to fore-legs 
thirty-nine feet, between fore-legs and hind-legs fifty-one feet, 
across the body thirty-six feet. These measurements make the 
proboscis and snout combined about the same length as the fore- 
legs ; the proboscis alone about half the length of the fore-legs ; 
whereas, had it been a genuine imitation it should have been 
nearly double the length. The writer has visited the effigy two 
or three times, but found it more and more obliterated. No 
other effigy of the elephant could be discovered in the vicinity, 
and no other has since been discovered. Compare Figs, i and 17. 


Plan of Mound.— A, first grave: B, second grave; n, cavity on north side ol grav& 
A; b. layer of stones at edge of shell bed; c, loam between the graves; d, skeletons in 
first grave; e, skeletons in second grave; /, position of tablet. 

Fig. 19— Plan of Mound. 

The history of the second discovery is about as follows. In 
the year 1874, the Rev. Mr. Gass was engaged in exploring 
mounds. He came upon a group of mounds situated about a 
mile below the city of Davenport (see map), on the bank of 
the Mississippi river, about 250 feet from it and from eight to 
twelve feet above low water mark, which consisted of ten or 
twelve mounds. Several of these were excavated, and found to 
contain a large number of relics, such as sea shells, copper axes, 
pipes, hemispheres of copper, arrow heads, pieces of galena, 
pieces of pottery, pieces of mica, stone knives, copper imple- 
ments shaped like a spool, rondells, showing that trepaning had 
been practiced. Many of the axes had been wrapped with coarse 
cloth, which had been preserved by the copper Fig. 16. The 
pipes were all of Mound-builders' pattern; some of them were 
carved with effigies of birds and animals. One bird has eyes of 
copper, another has eyes of pearl, showing much delicacy of 
manipulation and skill in carving. These relics excited much 
interest and were put on exhibition before the American Associa- 
tion for the Advancement of Science, at Detroit, in 1875. About 


twenty copper pipes were reported at that time, and eleven cop- 
per awls and a large number of bones. They were said to have 
been found at various depths, some of them near skeletons, some 
near altars, some in ashes, though they v/ere all from the same 
group on the Cook farm. The mounds on the Cook farm were 
the most of them stratified. All of them contained bodies and 
ashes; two or three of them contained altars or round heaps of 
stone, but with no relics upon the altars. Mound No. 3 was the 
one in which the tablets were discovered. This was a low mound, 
about three feet high and sixty feet in diameter. It was a double 
mound and contained two graves parallel to each other, three or 
four reet apart, six feet wide and nine or ten leet long. 

In making the excavation of the first grave the party found, 
near the surface, two human skeletons, which were modern In- 
dians, and with them modern relics; such as fire steel, a common 
clay pipe, a number of glass beads, a silver earring. Below these 
was a layer of river shells and a large quantity of ashes, which 

7^ ^^.it; :^ 7- <S%7V.N. T\^ 

Fig. W. — Hieroglyphics on Tablets.* 

extended two feet below the surface, but which rested upon a 
stratum of earth twelve inches in depth, under which was a second 
bed of shells. At the depth of two feet below the second shell 
bed, 53^ feet below the summit, three skeletons were discovered, 
lying in a horizontal position at the bottom. With the skeletons 
were five copper axes, all of which had been wrapped in cloth, 
a number of small red stones, arranged in the form of a star, two 
carved stone pipes, several bear's teeth, two pieces of galena, one 
large broken pot, a lump of yellow ochre, one arrow-head. A 
child's skeleton was discovered between the two large ones, near 
which was a large number of copper beads. 

The second grave was not opened until the year 1877, about 
two years after the first. Mr. Gass was attended by a party of 
seven men, two of whom were students. They found, near the 
surface, modern relics — a few glass beads and fragments of a 
brass ring; also a layer of shells twelve or fifteen inches thick; 
beneath this a second layer five or six inches thick; beneath the 
second layer a stratum of loose black soil or vegetable mould, 
eighteen or twenty inches thick, and in the mould fragments of 
human bones. At the bottom they discovered the two inscribed 
tablets, lying close together on the hard clay, five and one-half 

*The word TOWN will be recognized in the cut, which represents the charac- 
ters on the left side of the upper arch in their regular order. The first to call atten- 
tion to this word was Dr. Farquharson, the President of this Association, though at 
the time he thought that the finding the letters was a pure fancy. The word has 
often been noticed in the tablet, and has always worked against its genuineness. It 
has been intimated that the Mormons planted these tablets. The recent find at 
Wendon, Illinois, of a brass plate or sounding board of a musical instrument, with 
similar characters, near a house once occupied by Mormons confirms this conjecture 


feet below the surface of the mound; both were encircled by a 
single row of lime stones. About two and one-half feet east 
were a copper axe, a few copper beads, fragments of pottery, a 
piece of mica and a number of bones. These were found at a 
subsequent exploration, not at the same time as the tablets. 

The large tablet is twelve inches long, from eight to ten inche 
wide, and was made of dark coal slate. Fig. 22. The smaller 
tablet was about square, seven inches in length, and had holes 
bored in the upper corners, and is called the calendar stone, as 
it contained twelve signs with three concentric circles, though 
the siens do not in the least resemble the Mexican or Maya cal- 
endars. The larger tablet contained a picture on either side, one 
representing a cremation scene, the other a hunting scene. The 
cremation scene "suggests human sacrifices." A number of 
bodies are represented as lying upon the back, and the fire is 
burning upon the summit of the mound, while the so-called 
Mound-builders are gathered in a ring around the mound. Above 

5p u^^.E^ ^,..a^ tTfOVJ 

tig. 21.— Characters Duplicated on the Sandstone Tablet. 

the cremation scene is an arch formed by three crescent lines, 
representing the horizon, and in the crescent and above it are 
hieroglyphics, some of which resemble the common figures and 
numbers, and the various letters of the alphabet; there are ninty- 
eight figures, twenty-four in one, twenty in the other, and fifty- 
four above the lines. The peculiar features of this picture 
are these : A rude class of Mound-builders are practicing hu- 
man sacrifice, while the images of the sun and moon are both in 
the sky, one containing a face, the other circles and rays. Above 
these is the arch of the heavens, with Roman numerals and 
Arabic figures scattered through and above it. The figure eight 
is repeated three times, the letter O repeated seven times. With 
these familiar characters are ethers which resemble letters of 
ancient alphabets, either Phoenician or Hebrew, and only a few 
characters such as the natives generally used. 

The hunting scene is the one which is supposed to contain the 
mastodon. In this picture there is a large tree which occupies 
the foreground, beneath the tree are animals, human beings and 
fishes scattered indiscriminately about, a few skeletons of trees 
in the back ground. One of the human figures has a hat on, 
which resembles a modern hat, for it has a rim. "Of the animal 
kingdom thirty individuals are represented, divided as follows, 
viz: Man, eight: bison, four; deer, four; birds, three; hares. 


three; big horn or Rocky Mountain goat, one; fish, one; prai- 
rie wolf, one; nondescript animals, three. Of these latter one 
defies recognition, but the other two, apparently of the same 
species, are the most interesting figures of the whole group. 
These animals are supposed by different critics to represent the 
moose, tapers or mastodons." The trunk and tusks are omitted 
from this animal, and even the shape hardly resembles the ele- 
phant, certainly not enough to prove that the Tvlound-builders . 
were contemporaneous with the mastodon,* 

The third discovery is the one the most relied upon. This 
discovery was also made by the Rev. Mr. Gass, in the spring 
of 1880, several years after the discovery of the tablets. Mr. 
Gass was accompanied by Rev. Mr. Bloomer. A group of ten 
mounds, arranged in irregular rows, was situated along the bluffs 
overlooking the Mississippi bottoms west of Muscatine Slough. 
The first mound opened proved to be a sacrificial or cremation 
mound, situated on the extreme edge of a prominent bluff, having 
ravines on both sides. It was a flat cone, thirty feet in diameter, 
elevation three feet. Near the surface was a layer of hard clay, 
eighteen inches thick; below this a layer of burned red clay, as 
hard as brick, one foot thick; under this a bed of ashes, thirteen 
inches deep. In the ashes were found a portion of a carved 
stone pipe, bird form, by Mr. H. Haas; a very small copper axe 
by Mr. Gass ; a carved stone pipe, entire, representing an ele- 
phant, which, Mr. Bloomer says, "was first discovered by myself." 
The other mounds of the group were explored, and contained 
ashes and bones, but no relics. Mr. Gass makes no report of 
finding the elephant pipe, but leaves that to Mr. Bloomer. During 
the same year he discovered, in the mounds in Mercer County, 
Illinois, several Mound-builders' pipes — one representing a lizard, 
one a turtle, another a snake coiled around an upright cylinder 
and covered with some very thin metallic coating. Mounds on 
the Illlinois side, near Moline, and Copper Creek and Pine Creek, 
had previously yielded to Mr. Gass carved stone pipes, one of 
them representing a porcupine, anothera howling wolf The pipes 
were composed of some dark-colored slate or variety of talc, 
thus showing that the Mound-builders of the region were in the 
habit of imitating the animals which they saw, making effigies 
of them on their pipes. The account of finding this elephant is 
written in a very straightforward manner ; nothing about it shows 
any intention to deceive. 

♦Another tablet was found by Mr. Charles Harrison in 1878, who is president of the 
society, in mound No. 11 of the some group. In the mound was a pile of stones two 
and one-half by three feet in size, which might be called an altar, about three feet 
below the surface; the slab fourteen inches square, and beneath the slab was a vault, 
and in the vault was the tablet, with four flint arrows on the tablet; a shell and a 
Quartz crystal. The figures on this tablet were a circle which represented the sun, a 
crescent representing the moon, and a human .figure astride the circle, colored 
brieht ochre red, all of them very rudely drawn. The figure is supposed to represent 
the sun god The figure eight and other hieoglyphics are upon this tablet. Above 
the hieroglyphics was a bird and an animal, and between them a copper axe. This 
tablet is as curious as the one discovered by Mr. Gass. 


The fourth discovery consisted of a carved stone pipe, also in 
the shape of an elephant or mastodon. This pipe was picked up 
in a cornfield by a German farmer named Mare, who gave it away 
and afterwards moved to Kansas. The pipe came into the hands 
of the Rev. Mr. Gass, was purchased by the Davenport Academy 
and is now in their museum. Both pipes have the general 

shape, — a curved 
base. Both pipes 
are alike in that 
they represent the 
animal with a pro- 
boscis, but with no 
tusks. The reason 
for this may have 
been that it was 
difficultto carve the 
tusks out of stone; 
if they had been so 
carved they were li- 
able to break. They 

Fig. 23.— Map of the Mounds on the Cook Farm. are alike also in 

representing the eye and ear, mouth, tail, legs and feet of the 
animal in a very natural way. The main difference between them 
is that one has the trunk stretched out in front, and the back 
curved upward, and a heavy body. The other represents the 
proboscis curved inward, toward the legs; the back is straight 
and the body slim. Both have the bowl of the pipe between 
the fore-legs, which are brought out in relief from the cylinder 
on the sides of the bowl; the 
hole for smoking is at the 
rear of the animal. The pipes 
show much more familiarity 
with the mastodon than do 
the effigies. They represent 
the trunk as nearly twice as 
long as the fore-legs. These 



Fig. 23— Altar Containing Sandstone Tablet. 

pipes have been discredited by certain writers, especially by Mr. 
W. H. Henshaw, of the Ethnological Bureau, but they have been 
defended by Mr. Charles Putnam, the president of the Davenport 
Academy, and are endorsed by the members of the Academy at 
the present time.* In favor of the genuineness of the pipes, we 

*The evidence in their favor is certainly as reliable as that which has reference to 
the rude stone relics which have been described in Wright's Ice Age. Several per- 
sons were engaged in exploring and giving testimony in relerence to the find. In the 
case of the stone relics taken from the railroad cut. we have the testimony of only 
one man who was exploring . Mr. H T. Cresson's testimony is taken, while in this 
case the testimony of several men seems to be doubted. See "Ice Age, by b. Cr. 
Wright. See Discussion of H. T. Cresson's Pile-dwellings, American Antiquarian, 
Vol. XII. page 184. Discussion over elephant pipes by Mr. W. H. Henshaw. Report 
of Ethnological Bureau, second .annual report, 1880-81. Davenport Academy report 
Vol. IV, page 256, article by Chas. E. Putnam. 



may say that during the same year of the discovery of the ele- 
phant pipe, the bones and tusks of an elephant were found in 
Washington County, la., and were reported in the Proceedings 
of the Davenport Academy. These bones were about six feet 
below the surface, in the black mud sediment and vegetable 

mould. They seem to have 
been quite a recent deposit, 
and the elephant or masto- 
don which was buried here 
may have been the very one 
which was represented in 
the pipe. 

In this connection we 
would speak of the loca- 
tion of the mounds which 
contain the pipes and the 
tablets. It is the general 
opinion that those mounds 
Fig. 2u.— Davenport Tablet. which were erected on the 

upper terraces were the older, that those upon the lowland were 
the later. Some writers have maintained that the first class were 
erected when the water filled the entire valleys and covered the 
first terrace. If that were the case, then the earlier Mound- 
builders must have been acquainted with the mastodon and other 
animals of that class. The mound which contained the elephant 
pipe was situated upon the bluffs far above the plain. This is 
significant. It may be that the elephant pipe was deposited in 
this mound on the bluff at a time when Muscatine Slough and 
Meredosia Slough were lakes, whose waters flowed near the bluffs 
— a time when the mastodon was common. 



(Eijhl MilfS sr. of ChMlicolhe) 

" SC Xftt*- and S H Oarit St^'ejf"") 
^00 ri u Ar h>rti 














We now come to the question of the relation of the Mound- 
builders to the modern Indians. There has been a great difference 
of opinion on this subject, but it would seem as if archaeologists 
were coming nearer to one another and agreeing that the Indians 
at one time built mounds, but most of them acknowledging that 
there was a difference between the two classes. 

I. The appearance ol the buffalo within the bounds of the 
Mound-builders' territory is the first point which we are to con- 
sider. The buffalo seems to have extended its range beyond 
the Mississippi River. The nomadic savages had a habit of 
setting fire to the prairies. The flame swept into the eastern 
forests, bringing the open prairie into the midst of the Mound- 
builders' works, and reaching almost to the Ohio and the Alle- 
gheny Rivers. The hunters followed the buffalo to the eastern 
ranges. This will account for the disappearance of the JMound- 
builders. Still, we are to bear in mind that the earlier Mound- 
builders, those who dwelt 



in the fortified villages and 
who were the sun worship- 
ers, were not acquainted 
with the buffalo; at least 
they had no buffalo pipes. 
There was, however, a race 
of mound-building Indians 
subsequent to them, who 
were hunters and effigy- 
builders, and were acquaint- 
ed with the buffalo. Our 

proof of this is as follows: ^'ff-l-SujiraloandBearnearI>rairieduChien. 

I. The effigies of the buffalo are found in Wisconsin. This will 
be seen from reference to the cut See Fig. i. The effigy of the 
buffalo has been seen in many places — at Beloit, Madison, and 
at Green Lake. Inscriptions of the buffalo are found in the 
picture cave at West Salem. 2. Shoulder bones of the buffalo, 
according to Squier and Davis, were found in Ohio, but at the 
summit ot the mound and associated with modern Indian relics. 
3. The bones of the buffalo, according to Mr. McAdanis. were 
found in the depths of the pyramid mounds not far from Alton, 
Illinois. 4. The bones of the buffalo were found among the ash 


heaps near Madisonville, Ohio. 5. Efifigies of the buffalo, ac- 
cording to T. H. Lewis, have been recognized in the standing 
stones of Dakota.* 6. Traditions of the buffalo were prevalent 
amono- the Chickasaws and the Choctaws of the Gulf States. 
Traditions of an animal with an arm extending from the fore- 
shoulder, according to Charlevoix, were prevalent among the 
Indians of Canada. These discoveries and traditions are im- 
portant, for they show that the mastodon and buffalo were con- 
temporaneous with the Mound-builders, though the mastodon 
may have been known to one class and the buffalo to another. 
It is very uncertain just how early these Mound-builders lived. 
There are some indications that they were quite ancient. 7. When 
Ferdinand De Soto and his party landed in Florida they were 
surprised by the sight of the horns and head of a buffalo, an 
animal they had never seen before. This was in the hands of 
the Florida Indians. They afterwards became familiar with the 
buffalo robes or skins used by the Southern Indians. It appears, 
then, that at least 350 years ago the buffalo was known as far 
east as Florida. 8. According to Marquette, the buffalo roamed 
as iar east as the prairies of Illinois in the year 1680, but we can 
not fix upon the date when the buffalo effigies were erected. 
Buffalo bones were found at the bottom of the mounds on the 
Great American bottom, south of the locality where the masto- 
don pipes were discovered. This would indicate that the buffalo 
and mastodon were contemporaneous and that the Mound-builders 
were acquainted with both animals, and that the Mound-builders' 
acre extended from the time of the mastodon to that of the buffalo. 
II. We would next refer to the evidence as to the succession of 
races. The works on the North Fork of Paint Creek, on the 
Hopewell farm, illustrate this. Here is a group of mounds, 
which has been explored by Warren K. Moorehead, under the 
auspices of the World's Fair. Some remarkable relics have been 
taken out. One mound was very large, 500 feet long, 190 feet 
broad, 24 feet high. Near the top of this mound were stone 
effigies, resembling those in Dakota. At the bottom of the 
mound were a number of skeletons, lying upon the base line. 
The ground had been burned hard, and the earth above this was 
interstratified with sand and gravel. The skeletons were found 
in dome-shaped cavities, four or five feet in height. One skeleton 
was called the king; there were wooden horns at his head, in 
imitation of antlers; thin sheets of copper covered the wood. 

*The standing stones and the bone paths may have been the work of the Dakota 
Indians. Mr. MeAdams lias placed a plaster cast of a buffalo pipe in the museum at 
Springfield, 111. It is uncertain whether the cast is of a genuine pipe. If so, it would 
prove that the pipe-makers with both animals, the mastodon and the bufl'alo. See 
Discovery of Mastodon Bones, American Antiquarian, Vol. I, p. 5-1. First Discovery 
of Pipe, Ibid., Vol. II, p. 68 Inscriptions in Cave, Ibid., Vol. VI, p. 16 and 122. Bone 
Paths, Ibid., Vol. VIII, p. 153. Animals Known, Ibid., Vol. IX, pp. 153 and 57. See 
Emblematic Mounds, pp. 274,9, 163, 217. The following are the localities: Beloit, Rock 
County; Blue Mounds, Grant County; Butler's Quarries. Green Lake County; Buffa- 
lo Lake, Adams County; Prairie du Chien, Crawford County; Madison, Dane Co. 



The horns were attached to a helmet-shaped head-dress or mask, 
which reached from the upper jaw to the occupit ol the skull. 
Pearl beads, shell beads, bear teeth, bear and eagle claws, copper 
spools, copper discs, covered the chest and abdomen. A large 
platform pipe, an agate spear-head, four copper plates, canes 
from the south covered with copper were at the sides and back. 
In the same mound were several skeletons, covered with a 
large quantity of copper, and adorned with most intricate and 
beautiful designs. These are classified into anklets, bracelets 
and wristlets, and ornaments for various parts of the body. The 
bracelets were solid throughout, and formed by bending a 
tapering bar of copper into a circle. There were four circular 

Fig. t.— Works at Hopeton. 

discs, joined in pairs by a thick stem of copper, and four other 
discs, joined by pivots, and richly ornamented with repousse 
work. There were thin plates, cut in the form of fishes; others 
into diamond forms, with geometrical figures inside the rings. 
Most curious of the whole collection are two pieces of copper 
representing the Suasttka, — the only one that has been found 
north of the Ohio River. Beside these, was a flat piece of copper 
that had thin pieces of cane inside, evidently intended to be worn 
on the wrist as a protection from the bow. Many of the pieces 
have attached to them a curious texture, resembling matting, made 
out of wood fibre; while several were plated with silver, gold 
and meteoric iron. One piece was evidently a cap for the crown 
of the head, and had an aperture through which the scalp-lock 
could protrude, or to which feathers could be attached. There 
were also with them pieces representing birds and animals, and 


Others, curiously pronged, which were evidently used for combs. 
The five skeletons were also found lying side by side, — two of 
which were covered with a layer of copper, six by eight feet. 
The copper had been worked into many forms. There were 
sixty-six copper belts, ranging in size from one and one half 
inches to twenty-two and one half inches in length. A large 
thick copper ax weighed forty-one pounds. This exceeds any 
specimen ever found in the United States. There were traces of 
gold on it. The cutting edge is seven inches broad and is very 
sharp. A number of smaller copper axes attended this. Thirty 
copper plates, with Mound-builders' cloth on them, overlapped 
the axes. The average size of the plates was ten by six inches. 
A great copper eagle, twenty inches in diameter, wings out- 
spread, beak open, tail and wing feathers neatly stamped upon 
the copper surface, etc., covered the knees of one of the skele- 
tons. This is one of the most artistic designs ever found in cop- 
per. Remains of a copper stool, about a foot in length and several 
inches in height, lay near one of the skeletons. The stool was 
made out of wood, and had been covered with sheet copper. 

Here, then, we have the late tribes in their rudeness, but 
preceding these tribes we find a certain barbaric magnificence 
that might be compared to that of the early in habitants of Great 
Britain, — the symbols of sun-worship wrought into copper and 
placed upon the bodies. We have no doubt that the persons 
who were buried here, and who carried such massive axes and 
wore such heavy helmets and elaborate coats of mail, were an- 
cient sun-worshipers, differing entirely from the later Indians. 

The evidence of a succession of races 'is given elsewhere. 
The writer has explored the mounds scattered along the Mis- 
sissippi River from the state line on the north to Alton on the 
south, and has found several classes of works in this district. 
They are as follows: i. In the north, the effigies of Wisconsin 
passed over the borders, makmg one class. 2. Below these 
ate the burial mounds at Albany, Moline and Rock Island, which 
were explored by the members of the Davenport Academy. 
These were mainly unstratified, some of which contained relics, 
such as carved pipes, red ochre, lumps of galena, sheets of mica 
and fragments of pottery. 3. Farther south, near Quincy, the 
Mound-builders buried their dead without depositing relics. The 
mounds are not stratified; neither do they contain relics. 4. The 
fourth class is that which has been very frequently described, 
consisting of the pyramids, of which Cahokia is a good speci- 
men. 5. The fifth class is that marked by the stone graves. 
These extend from the mouth of the Illinois River to the state 
line at Cairo. What is remarkable about the Illinois mounds is 
that in every locality there seems to have been a large number 
of tribes, some of which were earlier and some later. 

The relics which are in the Davenport Academy are for the 



most part from the Iowa side, and are unlike the majority of 
those from the Illinois side, though there are localities in Illinois 
where similar relics are discovered. The contrast between the 
mounds at Davenport and others is seen in the cut Fig. 3 The 
lower part represents a mound in Illinois, the upper a mound in 
Iowa. These mounds are stratified, have layers of stones at 
intervals, the altars are pillars or piles of stones and have the 
bodies by the side. No such altars are found in any other mounds. 
The symbolism, however, is similar to that found in Ohio. It 
was the symbolism of the sun-worshipers, and it contained the 
crescent and circle. Fig. 3, 







No. 9. This shows that the 
Davenport Mound -builders 
should be classed with the 
sun-worshipers of Ohio, that 
the pipe-makers of this re- 
gion were the same people as 
the pipe-makers of that State, 
and were older than the other 

III. The difference appar- 
ent in the antiquity of the 
mounds is the chief evidence. 
It was noticed by Messrs. 
Squier and Davis that many 
ot the earth-works when first 
discovered were dilapidated, 
especially those upon the sum- 
mits of the hills and the banks 
of the rivers. The streams 
had encroached upon the ter- 
races and had broken down 
the walls of the villages. In 
one case, at the crossings of 
Paint Creek, the stream had 
overflowed the terrace and 
had made a passage-way for itself through a village enclosure, 
leaving part of the wall upon one side and part on the other. In 
another case the large circle had been encroached upon, and the 
terrace near which, at one time, was the bed of Paint Creek was 
broken down, leaving the wall of the enclosure ; but the creek 
now runs more than a mile away. See Fig. 4. The same is 
true of the circle upon the North Fork. See Fig. 5. The en- 
closure near Dayton also illustrates this. This was situated in 
the valley of the Miami on land which is even now at times over- 
flowed. It was overlooked by the great mound at Miamisburg 
and had evidently been occupied. Some maintain that the 
works had never been finished, but their condition is owing to 

I'ig. 3.— Stratified Mounds near Davenport. 



the wear of the stream. The works at Portsmouth had suffered 
the same destruction. The Scioto had changed its channel, had 
encroached upon the eastern terrace and had destroyed a portion 
of the covered way. At Piketon the stream had withdrawn from 
the terrace and had left an old channel, with ponds full of water, 
near the foot of the covered way, but is now flowing in a new 
channel half a mile from the covered way. The graded way 
which ended with the terrace was 1050 feet long and 215 feet 
wide. It may, at one time, have been used as a canoe landing 
or levee, for the village was on the summit of the terrace; but 
the villao-e is gone and many of the works have disappeared. 

The enclosures at Hopeton are better preserved, but the walls 
of the covered way, which are nearly half a mile in length, ter- 
minate at the edge of the 
terrace, at the foot of 
which it is evident the 
river once had its course, 
but between which and 
the present bed of the 
stream a broad and fer- 
tile bottom now inter- 
venes This covered 
way may have been de- 
signed as a passage-way 
to Monnd City, on the 
opposite side of the 
river. See map. The 
graded way at Marietta ends with the terrace, but there is now 
an interval of 700 feet between the end of the way and the river 
bank. These changes indicate great antiquity in the works of 
Southern Ohio. The same is true of the southern works. There 
are old river beds near the pyramids of Georgia, according to 
Professor Eugene Smith. This is true also of the mounds at 
Mason's plantation. The Savannah River has encroached upon 
the largest tumulus and " performed what it would have taken 
long days to accomplish." The layer of charcoal, ashes, shells, 
fragments of pottery and bones, can be traced along the water 
front of the mounds, showing its construction. These are two 
feet below the surface ; the superincumbent mass seems to have 
been heaped up to the height of thirty-seven feet above the plain 
and forty-seven feet above the water line. 

The age of the trees growing upon the earth-works is to be 
noticed here. The forts of Southern Ohio when discovered were 
generally covered with forests, and trees of large size were found 
upon the very summits of the walls. Some of them when cut 

*This Is situated on the Scioto River, one mile south of Chillicothe. A portion 
of the square has been spoiled by the Invasion of the river. The large circle has 
also been encroached upon. The low bottom at the base of the terrace was evident- 
ly at one time the bed of Paint Creek, but has since changed its channel. 

lOOO Fi to Inch 

Fig. U.— Circle and Square near Chillicothe* 



down showed four or five hundred rings, thus indicating that at 
least five hundred years had elapsed since the fort had been 
abandoned. Such was the case with the old fort at Newark. Mr. 
Isaac Smucker says the trees were growing upon its banks all 
around the circle, some of them ten feet in circumference. In 
1815 a tree was cut down which showed that it had attained the 
age of 550 years. Squier and Davis speak of the fort in High- 
land County. They say that "the area was covered with a 
heavy primitive forest of gigantic trees. An oak stood on the 
wall, now fallen and much decayed, which measured twenty-three 
feet in circumference. All around are scattered the trunks 01 
immense trees in every 
stage of decay. The en- 
tire fort presented the 
appearance oi the great- 
est antiquity." 

IV. The contents of the 
mounds are instructive. 
It is remarkable that 
no buffalo pipes have so 
far been found in the 
mounds, though ele- 
phant pipes have been. 
We imagine the pipe- 
makers were earlier than 
the effigy-builders, for 
the pipes are found in 
are seldom found upon 

Fig. 5 —Circle and Square near ChilUcothe.* 

the lowest strata of the mounds and 
the surface; while the buffalo bones 
are often found near the summits of the mounds, and were very 
common upon the surface. Parhs were made of the shoulder 
bones of bufifalos in Dakota. Agricultural tools made from the 
bones of the buffalo were found in Ohio. These facts show that 
the range of the buffalo was formerly farther east. The indica- 
tions are that the mastodon was known to the earlier Mound- 
builders and the buffalo to the later, and that the Mound-builders' 
age extended from the time of the mastodon to the time of the 
buffalo, and was prolonged through many centuries. 

The mounds of habitation are found in the north and south- 
east part of Vincennes. The north mound has a height of 36 
feet, "a circumference of 847 feet, and is attended by another 25 

*This work is situatfid on the left bank of the north fork of Paint Creek, 10 miles 
from ChilUcothe. A portion of the large circle has been encroached upon and de- 
stroyed by the creek, which has since receeded something over a fifth of a mile. 
There was formerly a Shawnee town near this work. Indian graves are marked on 
the plan. From these relics have been taken— gun-barrels, copper kettles, silver 
cross and brooches, and many other ornaments which the Indians were accustomed 
to burv with the dead. The ancient works at Piketon, at Cedar Banks, and at 
High Banks have also been encroached upon by the river. See section map of 
twelve miles ot the Scioto Valley. The works at Piketon illustiates the same fact. 
The works are destroyed by the wasting of the bank. The river now runs at a dis- 
tance Its ancient bed is distinctly to be seen at the base of the terrace. See maps 
on pp. 17, 18, 115 and 189; also cuts on pp. 94, 154, 240 and 264. 


feet high and 40 feet in circumference. Prof. Collett speaks of 
one mound which he calls a temple mound, and says that the 
temple had two stories. In other words, it was a terraced mound. 
We have elsewhere expressed the opmion that this group at 
Vincennes, as well as that near Evansville, belongs to the same 
class with the Cahokia mounds and may well be called terraced 
pyramids or terraced platform mounds. They constitute temple 
mounds of a peculiar type. They are generally grouped in such 
a way that the terraced mound is in the center. These pyra- 
mid mounds were evidently devoted to sun worship, though it is 
uncertain whether their summits were occupied by temples or 
by houses of the chiefs. If we take the descriptions given by 
the early explorers, we should say that the terraced pyramids 
were perhaps the residences of the chiefs and that they were 
guarded by warriors who were stationed upon the terraces, the 
conical mounds in the vicinity being the place where the temple 
was located. This, however, takes us into a new field. A de- 
scription of the pyramids has been given elsewhere. We only 
refer to them here as exhibiting a race of sun worshipers, who 
were followed by a race of hunters. 

The mounds in the State of Illinois were built by a different 
class of people ; many of them contained in the stratification 
the records of different periods. This was especially the case 
with the burial mounds. There are many burial mounds which 
have bodies at different depths; some of the bodies having been 
deposited by later tribes and some by earlier. Those at the bot- 
tom of the mounds are generally badly decayed and show signs 
of age. We find an illustration among the burial mounds. The 
pyramid at Beardstown, Illinois, is to be noticed. This seems to 
have been a very old structure, but was occupied at recent date. 
It was 30 feet high, 150 feet in diameter, and stood immediately 
upon the bank of the river on land which was surrounded by a 
slough and which was in reality an island. This island, on ac- 
count of its favorable position, had been for centuries a camping 
ground of the aborigines. It was excavated by the city author- 
ities and found to. contain upon its summit shallow graves with 
skeletons of recent Indians, buried with implements of iron and 
stone and ornaments of glass and brass. A little deeper remains 
of Europeans, perhaps followers of La Salle and Tonty; a silver 
cross was grasped by the skeleton hand and Venetian beads en- 
circled the skeleton waist of a former missionary, a disciple of 
Loyola, v/ho had probably made his grave in this distant wilder- 
ness. These were intrusive burials. At the bottonof this mound, 
on the original sand surface, there was found a series of stone 
graves or crypts, formed by planting flat stones in the sand and 
covering them with other flat stones. These tombs or rude cists 
were empty. So great was the lapse of time that the bodies had 
entirely decayed, not a vestige remained. The mound when fin- 


ished formed an elevated platform, from whose summit was an 
uninterrupted view of the distant bluffs on both sides of the river 
for two or three miles above and below. A nest of broad horn 
stone discs was discovered buried in the sand a short distance 
above this mound. The nest was composed of five layers of 
flints, about looo in all. They were embedded in the bank of 
the river, but above the reach of the highest water, four feet be- 
low the surface. They had been placed in an ovoid heap or 
altar, overlapped each other as shingles on a roof. The length 
of the ovoid was six feet and the width four feet. The relics 
had an average length of six inches, width four inches; their 
shape was also ovoid. They were discolored with a concretion 
which showed undisturbed repose in the clay, enveloped for a 
great period of time. It is supposed that they were originally 
brought from. Flint Ridge. They resembled the flint discs found 
in the Clark's works of Ohio; similar nests have been found 
near St. Louis, Cassville, on the Illinois river; several places on 
the Scioto river. The most rational theory in reference to the 
discs, is that they were deposited in obedience to a superstition 
or religious idea, which was perhaps related to a water cult. Dr. 
Snyder mentions a deposit of 3500, near Frederickss^fe, in 
Schuyler County, also on the Illinois river. Dr. Charles Rau 
described a deposit of horn stone discs, circular in shape, near 
Kaskaskia river, and another deposit of agricultural flint imple- 
ments near East St. Louis. W. K. Morehead mentions a de- 
posit of 7300 discs discovered in a mound near Clark's works 
in Ohio. These discs seem to connect the Mound-builders of 
the Illinois river with those of the Scioto, and convey the idea 
that the pyramids and the sacred enclosures were built at the 
same time. 

Another mound of this class was found at Mitchell's Station, 
on the Chicago and Alton Railroad, The mound was 300 feet 
long and 30 or 40 feet high, and contained near the base of it a 
skeleton in a wrapping of matting, a large number of copper im- 
plem.ents and ornaments, and a portion of the head of a buffalo. 

It is to be noticed here that the pottery of this region resem- 
bles that found in West Tennessee and in Southeastern Missouri 
— a pottery mady of very fine material and very highly glazed. 
The animals imitated by the pottery are very m.uch the same, but 
the pottery pipes and portrait vases are lacking. There are 
many human skeletons lying underneath the soil in the vicinity 
of these platform mounds. In some places layers of them to 
the depth of eight or nine feet are found. Relic-hunters also 
find many burials along the sides of the bluffs. Large quantities 
of agricultural tools are taken out from these burial places. These 
cemeteries on the bottom lands and on the bluffs indicate that 
there was an extensive population for a long period of time. We 
classify the works and relics with those of the Southern Mound- 


builders, and imagine that they were older than the Northern 

We here refer to the mounds of Kentucky. Sidney Lyons, in 
speaking of the mounds opposite the mouth of the Wabash, says 
that they contain three different kinds of burials: i. Those 
without works of art near the summit. 2. Those with works of 
art, the bodies having been laid on the surface. 3. Deep excava- 
tions containing badly preserved bones. One mound contained 
different burials, the urn burial in the middle. With the urns 
were deposited parcels of paint and iron ore. Another mound 
contained several copper awls and iron ore ; another mound con- 
tained the following relics : several copper awls, five inches long, 
a disc of copper covered with woven fabric, three circular stones 
with the margin groved like a pulley, with five small perforations 
in the margin; in another mound was a layer of clay, beneath 
the clay a pavement of limestone. The burials above the clay 
were peculiar: the bodies were placed in circles, lying on the left 
side, heads inward; the burials below the pavement six feet be- 
low the clay ; but no relics or works of art were connected with 
the deep burials. Some of the bodies were covered with slabs 
of stone, set slanting like a roof, but those below the pavement 
were merely covered with sandy soil. Another was to dig a deep 
vault in the form of a circle, placing the bodies against the side 
of the wall, in a sitting posture, faces inward. These different 
burials show that there was a succession of races in this region, 
some of them quite modern, others very early. 

Mr. Lyons seems to have come upon burial mounds in which 
there were successions of races buried, three or four different peri- 
ods of time being represented, The relics and bones in the deep 
burials were generally decayed. The relics in the middle series 
were of a primitive kind and seem to have been made by an un- 
warlike people. There were extensive cemeteries in Tennessee 
and Missouri, and grand depositories of bones in the caves of 
Kentucky and Ohio. These cemeteries and ossuaries may have 
been earlier or later than the regular Mound-builders; they at 
least show that there was a succession of races and that all parts 
of the country were occupied for a longtime. 

. lllll'^h!l 


















We propose in this chapter to take up the burial mounds in the 
United States and study them as monuments. The term is very 
appropriate, since they, in common with all other funereal struc- 
tures, were evidently erected as monuments, which were sacred 
to the memory of the dead. Whatever we may say about them 
as works of architecture, they are certainly monumental in de- 
sign. It is a singular fact that mounds have everywhere been 
erected for this purpose. We read in Homer that a mound was 
built over the grave of Patroclus, and that the memorial of this 
friend of /Eneas was only a heap of earth. The name of 
Buddha, the great Egyptian divinity, has also been perpetuated 
in the same way. There are great topes, conical structures, in 
various parts of Asia, which contain nothing more than a fabled 
tooth of the great incarnate divinity of the East, but the outer 
surface of these topes is very imposing. The pyramids of Egypt 
were erected for the same purpose. Some of them contain the 
mummies of the kings by whose orders they were erected. Some 
of them have empty tombs, and yet they are all monuments to 
the dead. It was a universal custom among the primitive races 
to erect such memorials to the dead. The custom continued, 
even when the races had passed out from their primitive condi- 
tion, but was modified. The earth heaps gave place to stone 
structures, cither menhirs or standing stones, cairns, cromlechs, 
dolmens, triliths. stone circles, and various other rude stone 
monuments, though all of these may have been more the tokens 
of the bronze age than of the stone age. We make this distinc- 
tion between the ages: during the paleolithic age there were no 
burial heaps ; the bodies were placed in graves, or perished 
without burial. During the neolithic age the custom of burying 
in earth heaps was the most common, though it varied according 
to circumstances. During the bronze age stone monuments 
were the most numerous. When the iron age was introduced the 
the modern custom of erecting definite architectural structures 
appeared. The prevalence of the earthworks in the United 
States as burial places shows that the races were here tn the 
stone age, but the difference between these will illustrate the 
different conditions through which the people passed during that 


There is one point to be considered here. It has been main- 
tained that the stone age has existed in all parts of the globe. 
The prevalence of burial mounds proves this. It is wonderful 
that they are so widely distributed. Sir John Lubbock says: 

" In our own island the smaller tumuli may be seen in almost 
every down ; in the Orkeys alone it is estimated that more than 
two thousand still remain , and in Denmark they are even more 
abundant; they are found all over Europe from the shores of the 
Atlantic to the Ural mountains; in Asia they are scattered over 
the great steppes, from the borders of Russia to the Pacific ocean, 
and from the plains of Siberia to those of Hindostan; the entire 
plain of Jellabad, says Masson, is literally covered with tumuli 
and mounds. In America they are to be numbered by thousands 
and tens of thousands ; nor are they wanting in Africa, where 
the pyramids exhibit the most magnificent development of the 
same idea; indeed, the whole world is studded with the burial 
places of the dead. Many of them, indeed, are small, but some 
are very large. The mound on Silbury hill is the highest in 
Great Britain ; it has a height of 187 feet. Though it is evidently 
artificial, there is some doubt whether it is sepulchral."* 

Another fact is to be noticed. The custom of erecting 
tumuli, or earth heaps, has survived late into history. This is 
the point which Dr. Cyrus Thomas has sought to establish. 
It will be readily granted, for the intelligent reader will notice 
that there are such tumuli not only in America, but also in various 
parts of Europe. The tumuli in Russia will serve as an exam- 
ple. These are called "kurgans." and are said to have belonged 
to historic times, some of them having been erected as late as 
the eleventh century, A. D. Two kinds of graves are found in 
them, one kind belonging to the bronze age, the other to the 
iron age, the burning of the dead having been practiced in the 
bronze age, but the extended corpse being characteristic of the 
iron age. Another remarkable proof of this is furnished by the 
discovery of the burial place of one of the Norse sea-kings. It 
was on the shores of Norway, near Gokstad, and contained a 
Viking ship, with oars, shields, benches, and other equipments. 
In the ship was a sepulchral chamber which contained the body 
of a Viking chief, and about it were the remains of horses which 
were buried with him. Here, then, we have a case similar to 
those found in Russia, burial mounds having been erected as late 
as the tenth century. Great changes had taken place in the sur- 
roundings since that time, for the mound was some distance 
from the shore, showing that the sea had receded from the land 
since the burial. 

The most important point is that there is the perpetuity of 
the custom of mound building through all the "ages". Here 

♦Lubbock's Prehistoric Times, pp. Ill and 112. 


we have the Viking sea-king, with a boat fastened together with 
iron nails. In the same region we have kitchen middens with 
the remains of extinct animals in them. Between the two we 
havethe whole history of the stone age, the different monuments 
showing the succession of races. If this is the case in Scandi- 
navia, it is also the case in America. The burial mounds are 
not all, by any means, of modern date. Perhaps none of 
them can be traced back to as early a date as the kitchen middens 
and the cave contents of Europe indicate, )'et many of them are, 
we believe, quite ancient ; in fact, so ancient that everything that 
was perishable has passed away, and only the imperishable has 
been preserved. The mounds are valuable as records, since they 
show' a succession of races. There may be, even in the same 
group, different mounds which have been erected in different 
ages, so that the records may go over several hundred years, 
even when the appearance externally is the same. 

With these remarks we propose to consider the burial mounds 
of the United States, especially those found in the Mississippi 
valley. We would say. however, before beginning, that there 
are mounds outside this valley, in fact many of them. They 
have been discovered on the northwest coast, in British Colum- 
bia, in Washington Territory, and in Oregon. Mr. James Deans 
claims that he has discovered a certain embankment near Vic- 
toria, B. C, with a ditch six feet deep; also low mounds, the 
remnants of ancient dwellings, and burial caves of the usual 
type. Mr. Forbes maintains that the works of this region resem- 
ble the stone circles which are found in Devonshire, Kniiland. 
The dimensions of the mounds are from three to eighteen feet 
in diameter, and they are found in groups of from three to fifty. 
It is probable that these earthworks are fortifications, and that 
the stone circles within them are the remains of huts, which have 
fallen and been destroyed. The burial mounds of this region 
have not been explored. There are graves near Santa Barbara, 
and on Santa Rosa island, in Southern California, which have 
yielded large quantities of stone relics. These have been de- 
scribed by Rev. Stephen Bowers, Drs. C. C. Abbott, H. W. Hen- 
shaw, Lucien Carr, and others.* 

There are also shell heaps or kitchen middens in the same 
region. These, however, dilTer from the burial mounds, which 
are really rare along the Pacific coast. Dr. Hudson has discov- 
ered a tumulus of the regular type, and has described it in 
The American AxTiguARiAX.t It is situated near Oakland, 
Cal. "It is imposing in form, interesting in feature, locality and 
composition." It measures three hundred feet in diameter at the 
base, and twenty-five feet in height. It is circular in form, with 
a flat summit, is one hundred and fifty feet across the truncated 

*See Wheeler's Geographical Survey, Vol. VII, Smithsonian Report, 1877. 
tSee American Antiquarian, Vol. VII, No. 3. 


top. A relic exhumed from a mound in the vicinity is also de- 
scribed by Dr. Hudson. It is a crescent carved in stone, two 
inches wide and eight inches from point to point, and is supposed 
to indicate the prevalence of sun worship in the vicinity. 

We now come to the burial mounds of the Mississippi valley. 
These are to be 0assifiecl and described. We shall describe 
them, both according to their architectural character and their 
geographical location, as well as their contents, since this is 
the light in which we are to study them. The architectural char- 
acter embraces, I, the question of size and shape; 2, the material 
of which they are composed; 3, the method of construction, 
whether stratified or solid; 4, the character of interior, whether 
a chamber, an altar, a fire-bed or other structure. 

The study of geographical location will embrace two or three 
points : i, The question whether some of them were not used as 
signal stations; 2, whether some of them were not built in con- 
connection with villages ; 3, whether their contents do not reveal 
the social status, the relics of one district being very different 
from those of another district, but the burial mounds being quite 
similar in character throughout the same districts; 4, whether 
their association with other earth works would indicate that all 
were built by the same clan or tribe. 

In treating of the burial mounds of the Mississippi valley, we 
shall keep the division which we have adopted with reference to 
the other earth-works, but shall modify it to suit the circum- 
stances. The division is as follows: I. The Upper Mississippi 
district, including the mounds in Minnesota and Dakota, and 
extending north as far as Lake Winnipeg, south as far as the 
Des Moines river. II. The Wisconsin district, the area of the 
emblematic or effigy mounds. III. The district about the Great 
Likes, including Michigan and New York. IV. The Middle 
Mississippi district, including Illinois, Iowa and Missouri. V. The 
district on the Ohio river. VI. The Appalachian district, includ- 
ing Western North Carolina and Eastern Tennessee. \TI. The 
Lower Mississippi district, and Texas. VIII. The Gulf district, 
including the Gulf States east of the Mississippi. Here we find 
large, flat-topped, pyramidal mounds, enclosed by walls and sur- 
rounded by ditches and canals. 

This division is the one given by Dr. Cyrus Thomas, though 
it is based upon a division previously laid down by the writer, 
but with two districts added, the middle district having been 
divided into two, and another on the eastern coast, in North 
Carolina, having been discovered by Dr. Thomas himself The 
division is based upon the characteristics of the relics which 
are found in the districts, rather than upon the burial cus- 
toms, and therefore indicate nothing concerning these customs. 
Still it is well to state that there is a correlation between the 


burial customs and the districts, so that we may recognize the 
social status of the mounds, as well as of the general structures. 

I. We take first the district which is embraced within the 
Upper Mississippi valley, which may be called the Northern dis- 
trict. There are many burial mounds in this district. There 
are, to be sure, a few other earth-wotks. such as fortifications, 
lodge circles, lookout mounds, and domiciliary mounds, but the 
large majority were evidently erected for burial purposes. These 
are found in Minnesota, Iowa, Kansas, Missouri, Illinois, and 
Indiana, all of which may be called prairie States. The district 
might also be said to embrace the valley of the Red river and 
the States of Dakota, for the mounds found in these regions are 
mainly burial mounds. It is a very extensive district, and yet 
one that is homogeneous in character. It is uncertain whether 
the mounds were the work of Indians known to history, but they 
were evidently built by people of the hunter class, all of whom 
were nomadic in their habits. It is one of the peculiarities of 
nomads that they rarely provide for permanent habitations, but 
they do provide for the burial of the dead. It is strange that 
throughout the region which we have mentioned there are so 
few fortifications but so many burial mounds. It is probable 
that the people who dwelt on the prairies had from time immem- 
orial been in the habit of placing their villages near the water 
courses, and then building signal mounds at various points on 
either side of the villages. B\- this means they could become 
aware of the approach of an enemy, and then find safety by 
taking flight, leaving their villages to be destroyed by the enemy. 

It is noticeable that most of the signal stations were burial 
mounds, or, in other words, burial mounds were used as signal 
stations, the location of these mounds on the high points 
being not only favorable for burials, but also useful for the 
purposes of defense, as they furnish fine views of the surround- 
ing country. It is possible that there was a religious sentiment 
embodied in them — the spirits of the dead watching over the 
abodes of the living, but the living taking the abodes of the dead 
as their watch towers, and so the living and the dead were com- 
bined together to secure safety. 

They may have been used also by hunters as lookout stations, 
from which the presence of game could be discovered, as many of 
them command views of the prairie upon one side and the bottom 
lands upon the other, being so placed that large animals might be 
seen grazing on one side and birds and water fowl feeding upon 
the other, the lakes, streams and open countr}- being brought to 
view by the elevated position, and at the same time signals in the 
shape of fires or clouds of smoke could be sent to more distant 
points. It is a region which favored this method of defense and this 
kind of hunting, since it was a prairie region through which large 
streams and rivers flowed, the rivers furnishing an abundance of 


fish and water fowl, but the prairies game of a larger sort. It is 
very interesting to pass over the country and study the location 
of the burial mounds with these points in view, for there is 
scarcely a mound whose location is not significant. The burial 
mounds form cordons of lookout stations, and taken together 
they make a net-work which covers the whole map. The writer 
has discovered three lines of lookout stations along the Mississ- 
ippi river, one of them on the bottom lands near the bank of the 
river, another on the bluffs which overlook the river, another 
several miles back overlooking the prairies, which are situated 
on either side of the river valley. It was also noticed that within 
the lines of lookout stations the villages were built, some of 
them being on the bottom land, others on the bluffs, others on 
the edge of the prairies, the burial mounds being placed near 
the villages, but lookout mounds at a distance. Others have also 
noticed the same system of signal stations on the Missouri 

As to the character of the mounds within the district, we 
would say that they are ordinary conical or hemispherical tumuli, 
built solidly throughout, very few of them having cists within 
them, though some of them contain layers of stone, which alter- 
nate with the layers of earth, the bodies being below the strata. 
Perhaps the district may be subdivided according to the relics 
contained in the mounds, but not according to the modes of 
burial, though different modes of burial were practiced by the 
different tribes which traversed the district. 

Some of the bodies are recumbent, others in sitting posture, 
others lying upon the side, perhaps buried in the attitude in 
which they died ; others present promiscuous heaps of bfnes — 
" bone burials" ; others have the bodies arranged in a circle, teet 
out and heads toward the center ; others have the bodies arranged 
in lines placed parallel with one another. A few have bodies in 
tiers, as if piled upon one another. All, however, are buried in 
a compact manner, chambers being exceptions. 

The solid type of burial mound we ascribe to the hunter races. 
This may seem conjectural, and yet we think the conclusion is 
proven by the facts. If we take the range of this class of tumuli 
and compare it with the habitat of the hunter tribes known to 
history, we shall find a very close correspondence. In this dis- 
trict we find the Algonquins and Dacotahs, who were strictly 
hunters, and the Chippewas, who were both hunters and fisher- 
men. They occupied all of the region between the great lakes 
and the Ohio river, extending west as far as the Missouri river. 
They would be called savages, though according to Mr. Morgan's 
classification, they would occupy the upper status of savagery 
and the lower status of barbarism. They were partially village 

*S. V. Proudfit, in American Antiquarian, Vol. VI, No. 5. 


Indians, were acquainted with pottery, they used the bow and 
arrow, occasionally used metals such as copper, galena, brown 
hematite and mica. They subsisted upon wild animals, but also 
gathered wild rice, and some of them cultivated maize and had 
patches of squashes, melons and other garden products. The 
chief tokens of this class of people are found in the burial 
mounds. They consist of arrows and spears, axes and hammers, 
shell beads, copper needles, knives, pipes, badges or maces, 
spool ornaments, and occasionally specimens of cloth. Modern 
relics are frequently found in the mounds, showing that the 
hunter races of this district did not abandon the mound building 
until after the advent of the white man. The relics, however, 
prove that in the prehistoric times the people of this entire dis- 
trict were in a much lower condition than those in the Southern 
States. There are no burial urns, no painted pottery, no elabor- 
ate symbols, very few idols or human images, and but few 
inscribed tablets. There are traces of extensive aboriginal trade, 
copper from Lake Superior, shells from the sea coast and the 
gulf of Mexico, obsidian cores from the Rocky mountains, mica 
from North Carolina, flint from Ohio, and galena from Wiscon- 
sin. This \ariety of relics proves not only that there was an 
aboriginal trade, but that the tribes were wanderers and had not 
reached the sedentary condition which is peculiar to agricultural 
races. This confirms what we have said, There may have been 
a great variety of races, and it is very likelj' that there were many 
periods of occupation, a succession of races. Still, the region 
was so favorable to hunting that it seemed to have been occupied 
by hunters from time immemorial. We have discovered signs 
of different periods of occupation in many of the burial mounds 
of this region. In one group we found three mounds. One of 
them contained the body of a medicine man, with a modern 
looking-glass in one hand and a bridle-bit in the other, with frag- 
ments of cotton cloth, pieces of tin, coils of brass wire and other 
relics about his person, showing that he was buried after the 
advent of white men, probably within fifty years. Another 
mound contained several bodies, but with no relics except a 
single chipped flint arrow-head, though a child seemed to have 
had a wristlet of bone beads around its hand, and a pottery vase 
filled with svveatmeats which had been placed near its head. This 
mound had trees growing upon its summit which were at least 
three hundred years old. The third mound contained three 
bodies lying upon the side, with face in the hand.* We discovered 
also in the same recrion mounds built with stonewalls in the form 
of a circle, filled with bodies laid in tiers, but with stone slabs 
lying between the tiers, the whole solid throughout, and a quasi 

♦There are evidences that this mode of burial was practiced by one of the later 
tribes, possibly Sacs and Foxes, but the other burials were by the earlier tribes, some 
of them by Stiawnees, and some of them by tribes preceding even the Illinois. 



roof of slabs covering the whole structure. The evidence was 
that a number of tribes had occupied the region. Each tribe 
had practiced a different mode of burial, but that, with all their 
changes, no tribe passed beyond the hunter state. We give a 
series of cuts* to illustrate the character of the mounds of this 
region. One of these represents a group near Excelsicr, Minn. 
See Plate I. It is in a forest which borders on Lake Minnetonka. 
It will be noticed that there is a circle of mounds surrounding a 
low place or natural meadow, and a wall extending along the lake 
shore. The group contains sixty-nme mounds, most of them 
burial mounds. One of the mounds was opened, and thirty-five 
skulls were found within it, arranged in a circle, covered with 

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i//// v>J'/"' \\\i//t/ \\i/i//y \\\"/' 

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j^/^. i—Qroitp of Mounds Ticelve Miles from Gideon's Bay. 

sand. The location of the group and the arrangement of the 
mounds would indicate that it was the site of an ancient village. 
The writer has discovered other village sites with the same or 
similar arrangements of burial mounds — one of them on the 
Crawfish, near Mud Lake, in Wisconsin, and another at the Cor- 
liss Bayou, near Prairie du Chien. The placing of the burial 
mounds around the edge of a village site may have been owing 
to superstition, the same superstition as that which led to the 
use of a burial mound as a signal station, the spirits of the dead 
being regarded as a protection to the village, since they were 
supposed to remain near the place where the body was laid. It 
may, however, have been owing to the custom, which prevailed 
in certain tribes, of burying the dead in the very spot where the 

*See Smithsonian Report, 1879, p. 422. 


lodge stood, and then moving the lodge to another place. A 
group of mounds one mile northeast o( this is shown on the 
upper left-hand corner of the cut. Plate 1. They are on a spot 
of ground four hundred and iifty feet above the level of the lake, 
and were probably used as signal stations. A group twelve 
miles southeast is represented in the next cut. Fig. i. Here are 
thirteen mounds situated on a high bluff, showing that these were 
used as signal stations as well as burial mounds. There is 
another group, two miles southwest, which contains forty or fifty 
mounds, and still another, seven miles northwest, which is called 
]\Iound City. Here the writer has discovered a game drive. 
Takingthe region together, we should say thatthe burial mounds 
were closely connected with the village life, but such a kind o 
life as hunters would follow, the very position of the tumuli 
being such as would be favorite spots with hunters. 

There are not many large m.ounds in the northern district. The 
only one which has been discovered is the one called the hay- 
stack mound. It is situated in Lincoln County, Dakota, eighty- 
five miles northwest of Sioux City. It is on a fine bottom, and 
is three hundred and twenty-seven feet in length at the base at 
the northwest side and two hundred and ninety feet on the 
southeast side, and one hundred and twenty feet wide. Its sides 
slope at an angle of about fifty degrees; it is from thirty-four to 
forty-one feet in height, the northeast end being the higher. 

The most interesting mounds of this district are the lookout 
mounds, to which we have already referred. Some of these arc 
quite large, being situated upon sightly places, they are prominent 
lankmarks, and are now becoming interesting objects for tourists 
to visit. One such lookout mound is situated near St. Paul ; 
others at Winona, at Red Wing, at Dubuque, at Dunleith, at 
Rock Island and Davenport, at New Albany, Keokuk, Quincy, 
and other places. One of the mounds south of Quincy was 
used by the coast survey as a place to erect a tower upon, thus 
showing that it occupied a very prominent position. 

We give here a map of the mounds situated along the banks of 
the Mississippi river, near Muscatine. The map will show the 
number and location of the tumuli. They are perhaps more 
numerous in this vicinity than elsewhere, but they are generally 
placed on the highest points or bluffs, as they are here. This 
particular region has been explored by gentlemen from Musca- 
tine and from Davenport. The letters will indicate the points. 
It has been found that they were nearly all burial mounds, though 
they did not all contain relics, other than the bones of the dead. 
See map. 

There are shell heaps in this vicinity, located in the neighbor- 
hood of these mounds, " which extend for miles without inter- 
ruption." They are composed of recent shells and contain few 
implements. The mounds occupy the most beautiful prospect 



in the country. One large mound five miles east of Moline was 
opened and disclosed the following structure: Three feet of 
soil (a), twenty-two inches of ashes and bones (b), and twelve 
inches of charcoal and bones (c). See Fig. 2. In seven mounds 
the bodies were fc/und lying upon the side, the knees drawn up 

to the chin.* Two other groups 
in this vicinity are represented in 
the cuts. Figs. 3 and 4. One of 
them, the one on Tohead Island, 
has a shell heap near it, and the 
other containing ten mounds, is 
located on an isolated hill or ridge. 
In the vicinity is found a cemetery 
containing two or three hundred 
graves. The graves are upon low 
ground, and the mounds upon high 

We give also another cut (see 
Fig. 5t) to show the relative group- 
ing of the burial mounds. The 
group has been explored by parties 
from the Davenport Academy, and 

,„,,,,,, ,,, .,,^a^ 

Fig. 2— Mound near Moline. 

some interesting relics have been taken from them, Moline being 
but a few miles east of Davenport. The group contains thirty- 
three mounds, some of them made ot lime-stone slabs. 

The burial mounds of this vicinity — Muscatine. Rock Island, 
Moline and Davenport — show how extensive the population 
was. They con- 

tain many relics 
which show that 
the people were 
quite advanced in 
some of the arts, 
the scul ptu red 
pipes which have 
been taken out 
from the mounds 
being very re- 

- /oo ft ■ - — f * -jaoft-st 
Fig. 3— Mound on Tohead Island. 

markable. There 
is not a better col- 
lection of the pipes of the Mound-builders' in the United 
States than the one contained in the museum of the Davenport 
Academy of Science. These pipes were taken from the mounds 
in the vicinity, those from the Cooke farm, three miles south of 
Davenport, being the most interesting. From this same group 

*See description of same mode of burial in mounds near Quincy, 111. 

+See Am. Antiquarian, Vol. II, No. 2. Taken from Smithsonian Report, 1879, p. 060 


on the Cooke farm the so-called Davenport tablets were taken. 
These are anomalous in character, totally unlike the other speci- 
mens in the cabinet. ^Members of the Academy maintain that 
they are genuine, but one may recognize upon them so many 
Roman and Arabic numerals, and so many alphabetic letters, as 
to conclude at once that they were made by some one acquainted 
■with these modern characters. The relics contained in the cab- 

Fig. U — Group of Ten Monuds on a High Ridge. 

inet, aside from these tablets, are very valuable. We find here 
many interesting specimens of copper axes and pieces of cloth, 
as well as pipes and pottery. There are also relics in the cabinet 
from the districts farther south, from Missouri and Arkansas, 
and these being placed side by side, show the differences between 
the districts in grade of culture and art products. 

II. We come now to the second district. This is the district 
occupied by the effigy mounds. It is a very interesting region. 

I Y? i I i i° — ^L — ijf — ti^f- ; 

1 seal? J ' 

Tlail HoadL. 

^ulllMHl^rrm^r , ^T^mTTTm-nlymrm-' , Tm:r■^r^-^Tf 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 n ii n i n li n Mn i i i ii iii n ' rt-t-i-mtt 

Fig. 5.— Burial Mounds near Moline, III. 

Here the effigies are numerous and have a great variety of 
shapes. We have in them complete imitations of the animals 
which once abounded, but which have become for the most part 
extinct. There are many effigies of panthers, wolves, foxes, bear, 
wild cat and other beasts of prey. Besides them we have 
moose, elk, deer, buffalo, antelope and other grazing animals 
There are also many birds; eagles, hawks, wild geese, pigeons 
swans, cranes, herons, ducks of various sorts, swallows, night 




»> • 



hawks. The amphibious creatures are also 
represented; turtles, lizards, muskrats, otter, 
fish and frogs. Also fur-bearing animals, such 
as beaver, badger, squirrels, skunks, mink and 
weasels; raccoons and martens. Many of these 
v«» |-^«| 3''^ imitations of the animals, but many of 

^\^^^ them are also totems or emblems of the tribe 

who formerly dwelt here. The effigies have 
enabled us to identify the affinity of the tribe 
as well as its division into clans. Some eight 
or nine clans have been identified. The burial 
mounds are scattered among the effigies in 
such a way as to show that the clans were 
accustomed to deposit their dead in conical 

they occasion- 
ally erected an 
effigy over the 
members ofthe 
•m .o->©t'''be. Not all 
k'^^.I' of the conical 

tumuli were 
erected by the effigy 
builders. There was 
a succession of races 
or tribes which occu- 
pied this region, 
some of which built 
only conical monnds, 
but the effigy build- 
ers were the first of 

/Jf The tumuli of the 

/F^ effigy builders can be 

distinguished from 
those of the later 
tribes both by the 
proximity to effigies, and by their location upon the 
high ground, as well as by the contents. They are 
ordina'ry conical tumuli, solidly built throughout. 
They contain burials which resemble those of the first 
district, though there are very few pipes or carved 
stone relics found within them. Some of these burial 
mounds are surrounded by effigies, as if the purpose 
was to guard them. Others, however, are arranged 
in lines with the effigies, forming parts of the 
groups. Still others are placed on the summits of hills, with 





effii^ies arranged in line in front of them, others in clusters with 
effigies at various distances from them.* In one case a row of 
burial mounds was found located on a ridec or hieh cliff- the 

Fi(j. ,' — Effirjiex and Burial Mounds near BeloiU 

ridge having the shape of an immense serpent, and the mounds 
being arranged so as to show the form of the serpent, the 
summit of the ridge and the line of the mounds both convey- 
ing the same idea. This was near Cassville, in Grant Count}% 

2' if/. >— J/(>((/((/.v on the East Side of Lake Koahkonong. 

We give a series of cuts to illustrate the burial mounds of 
this district. The first group is situated in the vicinity of the 
so-called elephant effigy, on the same bottom land, but about a 
mile to the north. See Fig. 6. It was described by Mr. Moses 

*See book on "Emblematic Mounds," by the author. fSmithsonian Report, 1875, 




or THE 








b-Lowar m > 
d-jGravclIy so.l o[ hiil. 

The group was excavated and found to contain intruded 

burials, skeletons very fresh in appearance, 
but no other relics. This group may have 
been erected by a tribe which followed the 
effigy builders. Another cut, however, 
represents a group near Aztlan (see Fig. 13), 
the celebrated ancient city, which may have 
been the capital of the effigy builders. 
The next represents a group near Beloit. 
See Fig. 8. Here effigies and tumuli 
are associated. Another cut (see Fig. 9) 
represents a group on the east side of Lake 
Mff. 9-Mound at Waukesha j^Q^l^]^^^^^^^ ^^^^ burial mounds are 

guarded by eagles. Another group on the west side of Lake 
Koshkonong repre- 
sents burial mounds 
guarded by tortoises. 
Burial mounds have 
been explored by va- 
rious parties, Dr. L 
A. Lapham, Dr. J. E. 
Hoy, R. B. Arm- 
strong W H Ander- Fig. 10— Mound at Indian Ford. 

son, Wm. F. Clarke, Dr. Cyrus Thomas, Col. J. G. Heg and others. 

The mound explored 
by Dr. Lapham was 
at Waukesha. This 
group was found on 
the college campus. 
A circular wall about 
nme feet in diameter 
was discovered. This 

Fig. 11— Mounds on Rock River. extended about tWO 

feet above the original surface. An excavation within this wall 
was filled with black earth to the 
depth of about two feet. At the 
bottom of this was a skeleton 
lying on its back. It was sur- 
rounded by a circular heap of 
stone,thestone also being placed 
over the body so as to form a 
sort of rude stone coffin. See 
Fig. 9. In the left hand of the 
skeleton was a pottery bowl, in 
the right hand a small pipe. 
At the head were fragments of 
two pottery vessels. The mound ^s- 12-Mound at Newton. 

opened by Dr. J. E. Hoy was at Racine. This contained a body 

CroiiSetti'ori of fAounA 'A 

sKUnono LaKe 

- l?it of WKsd clou conta'tn'ing ' i sRcliHinSi 
Scale- i2fV. tufheinih. 


A- Stiajt sunK at ctnftr of mQwid 
' a-SKeleTun /ohtsmnglciluiithtnc bones. 
t-Laytr olborK. C- Booulder 

d Ocpo&it ofcishes 3iain inicJ\ne£j. 

a O Ob o O O « I 


in a sitting posture, but there were no cist or wall or relics near 
it. The mounds explored by Mr. Clarke were near Indian Ford, 
on Rock river. One of these contained two burials (5ee Fig. lo); 
with three skeletons at the top and seven skeletons at the bottom. 
Another large mound (see F"ig. 12), 75 feet in diameter, 13 feet 
high, contained ashes three inches thick (d); below the ashes a 
flat stone (c); below the stone decayed wood and bark (b), and 
below these a human skeleton (a). 

Thus we see that there was no uniformity in the structure of 
the burial mounds of the district. Some of them 3eem to have 
been solid, ot^hers stratified. The bodies in some were found in 
sitting posture, in others recumbent; some of them contained 
rude stone walls; others contained altars; there is also evidence 
of cremation in some of them; in others, evidence of bone burial. 
The probability is that there was a succession of races here, and 
that some of the races or tribes continued to bury in mounds 
until after the settlement of the - w--,.v-. ' r^-;r-?rr^^ 

country by the whites, as modern ^ - . m, . ^ :- . , . 

relics are sometimes found in 

them. The state abounds witli 

copper relics, but it is uncertain ^^^0°'?^^ **** \^f^ooQ6a9 i 

whether these were left by effig\ * \ \_ 

builders, or by subsequent tribes 

probably, however, by the late 

tribes, since most of them ai' 

surface finds. 

The effigies do not often con- 
tain burials. One group, how- 
ever, has been explored near Beloit. Two of the efifigies in the 
group contained bodies which had been laid in rows, side by 
side, eight in number, on the surface of the ground, and then 
the effigy mound was erected over them. It is supposed that 
the effigy indicates the clan to which the persons belonged, but 
it is probable that the honor was bestowed upon some chief, and 
his family, or upon some band of warriors, but that it was not 
common to bury in this way. Dr. Cyrus Thomas has described 
several burial mounds which were excavated by his assistants 
near Prarie du Chien, in Crawford and Vernon Counties, Wis. 
One of these was stratified, first a layer of sand, next calcined 
bones, charcoal and ashes, burned hard, next clay burned to a 
brick, next a heap of bones, with charcoal and ashes. At the 
bottom was a pit, filled with chocolate colored dust. Another 
contained two rude walls, three feet high and eight feet long, be- 
tween them a number of skeletons, lying flat, the skeleton being 
covered with a layer of mortar, this by a layer of clay and ashes, 
this again by a layer of clay, and then the top covering of sand 
and soil. Dr. J. E. Hoy has described a mound at Racine which 
contained a single skeleton in sitting posture. Dr. J. N. De- 

Fig. l.>— Mounds near Aztlan. 


Harte* describes one at Madison as containing several bodies, 
one above the other, all of them in sitting posture, and still an- 
other containing an altar at the base, but with no bodies. 

III. The third district embraces the region abcut the great 
lakes, from Detroit on through Northern Ohio into New York 
State. This district was occupied by the military or warlike 
races, and the mounds have been called military works. The 
distinguishing peculiarity of the district is that there are so 
many remains of old stockades in it. These stockades are found 
in great numbers in the State of New York, but they are also 
seen on the south shore of Lake Erie, as at Conneaut, at Ashta- 
bula, at Painesville, at Weymouth, south of Cleveland, at Detroit 
and many other points. The burial mounds of the district are 
for the most part simple conical tumuli, some of which may have 
been used as lookout stations as well as for burials. There are, 
however, a few large mounds, and these we shall speak of 
especially. There is at Detroit a massive burial mound, seven 
hundred feet long, four hundred feet wide, and not less than forty 
feet high. It is situated near the river Rouge, three miles 
below the city. Mr. Bela Hubbard says of it: "From the' 
immense number of skeletons found in it and the mode of their 
occurrence, there can be but little doubt that it is one of those 
national sepulchres of the Huron and Algonquin tribes, where 
were deposited the remains of their dead. It affords certain 
evidence that cremation was practiced. Much charcoal and 
ashes were found, mingled with burned bones. With these were 
many pieces of large pots, but all broken. The mound contained 
so-called 'cellars' or 'altars'." 

Here were also the celebrated perforated skulls, which have 
been so fully described by Mr. Henry Gillman, skulls which 
evidently belonged to a rude hunter or military race. The situ- 
ation is such as would be chosen by the mound builders overall 
others. For a m.onument to their dead it is most picturesque. It 
was visible from a great distance in every direction and at the 
same time commanded a view of both the water and the land 
for many miles. f 

The burial mounds in this region have a general resemblance. 
They are terrace-like embankments twenty or twenty-five feet 
in height, which run parallel with the river or lake shore. They 
are partly natural and partly artificial. They contain relics, the 
debris of camps, as well as burials. The bones taken from them 
are marked with platyc nemism. showing that the people who 
dwelt here were hunters, since narrow, sharp shin bones are 
characteristic of hunters. The burial mounds of New York 
State differ from those of Michigan, in that they are conical 
tumuli, and are Vv'holly artificial. Some of them contain modern 

* American Antiquarian, Vol. I, Page 200. 

tMemorials of Haifa Century, by Bela Hubbard, p. 229. 

^fec?;' >; -i^?rf' --^^^^i^/^i--*- 


otp ». <«t"»«.* 




relics, but the majority of the relics are those which belong to 
the Iroquois, and consist of spear-heads, arrow-heads, stone 
pestles of varying length, clay pipes having a great variety of 
patterns, also a few copper relics; but no tablets, no shell gor- 
gets, and nothing that suggests either picture-writing or sym- 
bolism. There are burial mounds in Northern Ohio, associated 
with old stockade forts, which were probably erected by the 
Eries, who belong to the same stock as the Iroquois. Con- 
firmatory of this, is the fact that many pipes and other relics, 
resembling those used by the Eries and the Iroquois, have 
recently been found at Willoughby, west of Cleveland. 

IV The district embraced by Southern Ohio and adjoining 
states presents the greatest number of burial mounds, and 
furnishes the best field for the study of the Mound-Builders' 
habits and customs. The burial mounds here, are frequently 

Stone Graves in Ohio. 

arranged in groups, some of them very large. They have been 
described by different authors, though Squier and Davis are 
still the best authorities on the subject. 

These mounds are generally situated upon the hill tops, 
from which extensive views may be gained. The majority of 
them, however, are situated not far from the village enclosures, 
and were evidently erected by the people, who dwelt in the 
villages. Many of these mounds are stratified, and contain a 
succession of burials. The most interesting of these have 
altars at the base, which present evidence that many of the 
bodies were cremated. 

There are a few mounds which contain stone graves, or 
graves made by a cist of flat limestone slabs, set on edge and 
overlapping each other, making a rectangular cist resembl- 
ing a flat box in shape, but with the bodies in recumbent 
attitudes. Many conical stone heaps, resembling huts, are 
found in West Virginia, but they belong to a people who 



practised different modes of burial and lived in a very different 
way from the Mound-Builders of Ohio. 

The burial mounds were frequently used as signal stations, 
and whole lines of them have been traced from valley to val- 
ley, giving the idea that there was here a confederacy of tribes, 
and that the same people built the hill forts, village enclosures, 
signal stations and look-out mounds, as well as the burial 
mounds. They were given to agriculture and dwelt in perma- 
nent villages, but were surrounded by warlike tribes, against 
whom they needed to protect tnemselves. There is no part of 
the country where burial mounds are more numerous and more 
symmetrical in shape. The contents of these mounds have 
been studied with great interest. Some of them contain 
skeletons, with spool ornaments and tablets and copper relics; 
others contain altars on which relics have been offered and 
burned. A few contain deposits of copper and other relics. 
In one case, viz.: in the Hopewell Mound, were 235 pieces of 

Altar Burial in Hopewell Mound. 

copper, carved into squares and semi-circles, suastikas, and 
birds and fishes. A copper celt, which weighed thirty-eight 
pounds; anklets, bracelets, combs and pendants, carved bones 
covered with traceries, which show a high degree of manual 
skill, were found in this mound. A copper mask, eighteen 
inches long and five wide, covered the forehead of a skeleton, 
from which were branching horns, made out of copper. These 
mounds were contained in what is called the Hopewell Group, 
on the north fork of Paint Creek. 

Occasionally mounds are found in Ohio, which are covered 
with stone slabs, as if the design was to protect the bodies 
from the attack of wild animals. Others are made altogether 
of loose stones. Still others are built so high, as to give the 
idea that they were mainly designed for "look-out stations." 
One such mound is found on the Miami River, and commands 
a view not only of the valley of the river, with its forks, but 
also of the valley of the river to the west of it, and at the same 
time was connected, by a cordon of mounds, with Fort 
Ancient on the Miami to the east. There are also large burial 






mounds at Vincennes, on the Wabash River, which resemble 
those in Ohio, both in size and appearance, and other mounds 
at Grave Greek in West Virginia. 

The fair supposition is that these groups of mounds in the 
two states adjoming, formed a part of the same general sys- 
tem which prevailed in Southern Ohio, and that they belonged 
to a confederacy, which had its chief scat in Ohio. The 
elaborate system of works at Portsmouth forming a central 
group in which religious ceremonies were observed. In favor 
of this supposition, is the fact that the burial mounds, forts 
and village sites, are found scattered along the valleys of the 
different rivers, giving the idea that the tribes belonging to the 
confederacy dwelling on the rivers, were divided into clans, 
each clan ha\ing its own village and, perhaps, its own burial 
place; but all the tribes being connected with one another by 
the signal stations, which consisted of mounds placed along 
the summit of the hills. The burial mounds were attractive 

Body Showing Copper Mask and Copper Horns. 

externally, as they were gathered in groups and were beauti- 
fully rounded, and still formed attiactive objects in the land- 
scape; but internally they often presented a ghastly appear- 

There are a few stone mounds in Ohio, some of which are 
covered with earth and can hardly be distinguished from the 
earth mounds. The plates will show their character. Sqiiier 
and Davis were the first to describe them. V>u\. Mr. Girard 
Fowke has discovered others, two of which are shown in the 
plate. These are quite different from the stone graves in 
Tennessee, and are called cairns. The shingle-like arrange- 
ment of the limestone distinguishes them from the stone graves. 

There are double mounds found in Ohio, which are worthy 
of notice, since they show the succession of the Mound-Build- 
ing people. One of these has been described by Mr. W. C. 
Mills and is illustrated by a cut. It is called the Adena Mound; 
it is within sight of the mound city near Chillicothe, and near 
an artificial lake, from which the earth composing it was taken. 


It was in two parts, the relics being the same in both, but the 
lower |)art had chambers, or wooded rooms, which were prob- 
ably the houses and were on the death of the occupants made 
use of as a burying place and covered with the mound. 

V. The burial mounds which have been discovered in 
Nortli Carolina, West Virginia and Tehnessec are worthy of 
notice. They are not so much burial mounds, as they are 
burial pits. They have no attractiveness in themselves, and 
the chief interest in them is found in the relics which they 
contain. !<"irst, let us consider the B(;ehive Tombs in North 
Carolina. These have been described by Prof. Cyrus Thomas. 
They contained what are called tombs, made in a conical 
sha[)e, just large enough to contain a single body; ten 
or twelve such tombs in a single pit. These tombs did not 
contain many relics, as there were a number of iron celts 
among them, but along with them were discoidal stones, cop- 
per arrow points, copper arrows, pieces of mica, lumps of paint, 
black lead, and stone })ipcs. Under the heads of two of the 
skeletons were engraved shells, which resembled those found 
in the stone graves of Tennessee, as they had a coiled serpent 
engraved u])on them, showing that these shell gorgets were 
regarded i)y the Indian tribes as very sacred, and were kept 
from generntion to generation. 

The resemblance between the burial mounds in Southern 
Ohio and those in the north of China will be seen by examina- 
tion of the cuts, 'ii'he mounds are arranged in groups and arc 
generally beside the streams. An explanation of this cluster- 
ing of mounds, especially in America, is found in the clan sy.s- 
tem formerly prevailing. 

There is this difference between the Chinese burial mounds 
and the American, viz.: that they contain niegalithic structures, 
but the American contained burial stone cists made of stone 
slabs. The only structures which contain chambers, are 
those made of wood, though occasionally conical cists are 
found with a single skeleton enclosed, though stone mounds 
are somewhat common in Ohio, as can be seen from the cuts 
contained in the plate. 
























In treating of the Mound-builders' works heretofore we ha\c 
divided them into several classes, and have stated that the differ- 
ent classes were found in different districts, the effigy mounds in 
one, the burial mounds in another, the stockades in another, 
the so-called "sacred enclosures" in another, and the pyramid 
mounds in still another, the whole habitat being filled with 
works which were distinctive and peculiar, but which were al- 
ways correlated to their surroundings. 

It may seem singular to some that we should thus divide the 
earth-works into these different classes, and should confine each 
class to a limited district, making them so distinct from one an- 
other, but this only proves that the people who once inhabited 
the Mississippi valley, and whom we call Mound-builders, were 
far from being one people, but were very diverse in their char- 
acter, and that their diversity expressed itself in their works, 
their religious belief, their tribal organization, their social customs, 
their domestic habits, their ethnic taste-", their modes of life, all 
having been embodied in the tokens which we are now studying. 
We are to bear this thought in mind while we proceed to con- 
sider the works which are said to belong to the fourth class, and 
which we have named " sacred enclosures". The region where 
these enclosures are most numerous is that which is situated on 
the Ohio River and more specifically in the southern part of the 
State of Ohio. We shall therefore confine ourselves to this dis- 
trict, but would at the same time have it understood that it is 
because the works are here so typical that we treat them so ex- 

We propose in this chapter to consider the works of this district 
with the especial view of enquiring about their character and 
their uses. 

I. Let us first enquire about the symbolism which is repre- 
sented in them. The works of Southern Ohio have been regarded 
by many as symbolic, and the symbolism in them is said by 
some to be that expressive of sun worship. What is more, the 
sun worship which appeared here seems to have embodied itself 
in those works which were most common and which were also 
very useful, the enclosures which are so numerous here having 
been symbolic. 

I. This, then, is our first enquiry. Is there anything in the shape 


of the enclosures which should lead us to think that they were 
distinctive!? There are many kinds of earth-works in Southern 
Ohio, many of which are of the same character as those found 
elsewhere, but the most of them are works which might be 
called enclosures. These enclosures have a great variety of 
shapes, and were undoubtedly used for different purposes, though 
the purposes are now somewhat difficult to determine. The 
typical shape is perhaps that of the square and circle, though there 
are many circles without squares and squares without circles, the 
variation passing from one figure to the other. Many of the 
enclosures are irregular, with no definite shape; others, however, 
have shapes which are so definite and regular as to give the idea 
that they were symbolic — the crescent, the circle, the horse-shoe, 
the ellipse, the cross, and many other symbols being embodied 
in them. Some of the enclosures are very large, the walls about 
them being several miles iu length, giving the idea that ihey 
were used for defensive purposes ; others are very small, the dis- 
tance across them being only a few feet, giving the idea that they 
were lodge circles. Some of the enclosures are full of burial 
mounds; others contain no mounds whatever, but are mere open 
areas, areas which may have been used for village residence^^. 
Some of the enclosures are made up by single walls, walls on 
which possible stockades may have been erected ; others have 
double walls, a ditch being between them. Some oi them are 
isolated circles, enclosures separated from all others ; others pre- 
sent circles in clusters, the clusters arranged in circles, so making 
an enclosure within an enclosure. It is remarkable that there 
should have been so many different shapes to the earth-works in 
this region. These shapes vary from the circle to the ellipse, 
from the ellipse to the oblong, from the oblong to the square, 
from the square to the large, irregular enclosure. A map ot the 
region looks like a chart which contains all the geometric figures, 
and astonishes one when he thinks that these are earth-works 
containing areas, all of which were once used for practical pur- 
poses, and embodied the life of the people. See map of works in 
the Scioto valley. The uses to which these enclosures were subject 
are unknown ; it is supposed that some of them were for defenses ; 
others for villages; some of them were undoubtedly used for burial 
places; others for sacrificial purposes; some of them were the 
sites of houses, mere lodge circles; others were enclosures in 
which temples were undoubtedly erected; some of them were 
used as places of amusement, dance circles and race courses , 
others were probably used as places of religious assembly, estufas 
or sacred houses; some of them contain effigies, the effigies 
giving to them a religious significance. 

2. The symbolic character of the enclosures is the next point 
of enquiry. This has impressed many writers; for this reason they 
have been called sacred enclosures. The term has been criticised 



and rejected by some, but it seems to us appropriate, and we 
shall use it as being expressive of the real character of the works 
of the region. We take up the enclosures of this district with 
the idea that many of them were used for sacred purposes, and 
that a peculiar superstition was embodied in the most of them. 
What that superstition was we are not quite prepared to say, but 
the conjecture is that sun worship here obtained in great force. 
It sometimes seems as if the sun worship was joined with ser- 
pent worship, and that the phallic symbol was given by some of 
the earth -works. Whether these works were all used by one 
people, a people who were acquainted with all of the symbols 
spoken of, or were erected by successive races, one using one 
symbol and the other another, is a question. Be that as it may, 
we conclude that the district 
is full of earth-works which 
were symbolic in their char- 
acter, and which are properly 
called sacred enclosures. 

We give a series of cuts to 
illustrate these points. These 
are actual earth-works. One 
is the temple platform, found 
at Marietta (Fig. i); the sec- 
ond is a platform with the ad- 
joining circular enclosure, 
found at Highbank (Fig, 2); 
the third is the small circle with 
the small enclosure within it, found opposite Portsmouth (Fig. 3). 
These earth-works are all small,^ranging from 50 to 150 feet in 
diameter. The fourth is the large double enclosure consisting 
of the square and circle, found at Circleville (Fig. 4); the fifth is 
the large octagon and circle, found at Newark (Fig. 5). The last 
two enclosures might be measured b\- rods, as there are about 
as many rods in them as there are feet in the former works. The 
map of the works at Portsmouth (Fig. 6) contains many other 
figures, viz : Four concentric circles at one end, two horse-shoe 
enclosures and circles in the center, a large square enclosure at 
the west end, the whole making a very elaborate and complicatd 
system of symbolic works, the religious element being every- 
where manifest in the locality. 

3. Let us next consider the symbols which we may regard 
as typical and peculiar to the district. We have said that there 
are different kinds of enclosures in this region, but the enclosure 
which is the most striking is the one composed of two figures — 
the circle and the square and combination. This is not only 
common in the district, but is peculiar to it, as it is very seldom 
seen elsewhere. The reasons for this particular type of earth- 
work being found in Southern Ohio are unknown. It would 

Fif/. 1. — Platform at Marietta. 



seem, however, as if the people which formerly dwelt here had 
reached a particular stage of progress, had adopted a particular 
social organization, had practiced a particular set of customs, and 
had made these earth-works to be expressive of them. It some- 
times seems also as if a peculiar religious cult had been adopted 
and that this was embodied and symbolized in the earth-works. 
The figures ot the square and circle were probably symbolic, and 
the religion which was embodied in them was probably sun 
worship. How sun worship came to be adopted by the people 
is a mystery. It may have arisen in connection with serpent 
worship, the two having been the outgrowth of the natural super- 
stition, and so might be pronounced to be indigenous in this 
region, or they may have been introduced from other and distant 
localities, either from Great Britain, by way of the Atlantic 
Ocean, or from the Asiatic continent, by way of the Pacific — 
Mexico and Central America having been the original starting 
point on this continent, and the cult having spread from the 

central place over the 
^^^b^ continent eastward. 
Prof F. W. Putnam 
in his article on the 
great serpent takes 
the latter position, and 
says, "To this south- 
western region, with 
its many Asiatic fea- 
tures of art and faith, 
we are constantly 

Mg. 2— Platform and Circle at Highbank. forced by OUr investi- 

gations as we look for the source of the builders of the older 
works of the Ohio Valley." He refers, however, to the com- 
bination of natural features with artificial forms contained in the 
great serpent, and says this probably could not be found again 
in any part of the great route along which the people must have 
journeyed. He refers to the remarkable discovery by Dr. Phene 
of an interesting mound in Argyleshire, in Scotland, as contain- 
ing the same elements, the natural hill and the artificial shape 
giving evidence of serpent worship in the serpent form, the altar 
or burial place at one end forming the head, and the standing 
stones along the ridge marking the serpent's spine. These facts 
would indicate that serpent worship in Ohio had come from 
Great Britain and had been first introduced by the mound-build- 
ers here. Possibly the serpent worship in Mexico may have 
been introduced from the other side by way of Polynesia. 

4. The inquiry which we are to institute next is whether 
serpent worship and sun worship in Ohio were not prac- 
ticed by two classes of people, the one the successors to the 
other. This inquiry will be borne in mind as we proceed to the 




description ot the enclosures. The Natchez were sun worship- 
ers. There is a tradition that the Natchez once inhabited Southern 
Ohio. The Dakotas had the serpent symbol among them. There 
is a tradition that the Dakotas once dwelt in Ohio. This would 
show that the two cults were successive rather than contempor- 
aneous. It must be remembered that the symbolism of the early 
races of mound-builders was frequently combined with practical 
uses. The religion or superstition of the people required that 
defensive enclosures, as well as village sites, should embody the 
symbols as thoroughly as did the places of sacrifice or the burial 
places. The earth-works of Southern Ohio have been called 
sacred enclosures. If our supposition is true the term is a cor- 
rect one. They were village enclosures, but were at the same 
time sacred to the sun. We shall take the enclosures which are 
typical and ask the question whether these were not the villages 
of sun worshippers. 

5. Let us examine the district, and compare it with other 
districts where sun worship _^^ .; ^se;^=. ..^s, =. -_ =_- ^ ^^..„ 

has existed. We learn about -^^^^^Wi/"y^4¥^^Si^-^^ 

the district and its limits 
from the character of the 
earth-works. This partic- 
ular class of earth-works 
which we are describing is 
only found in a limited dis- 
trict. vVe begin at the 
mouth of the Muskingum 
River, where are the inter- 
esting works of Marietta. 

This river has a number of ^ 

enclosures upon it. We pass ' "' 

next to the Hocking Fig.S.-drcle at P<yrtsmouth. 

Creek, where the enclosures are not so numerous, and yet 
the same class of works abound here. Next comes the 
Scioto River, with its very interesting series of earth works, 
those at Portsmouth, Chillicothe and Circleville being the most 
prominent. Paint Creek and Brush Creek flow into the Scioto. 
On these there are some very interesting earth works, the 
majority of them being village enclosures. Next to this is 
Adams County, the County in which the great serpent is situated, 
the Brush Creek in this county being different from that which 
flows into the Scioto. We then pass over two or three counties 
until we reach the Little Miami River. Here we find the remark- 
able fort called Fort Ancient, and at the mouth of the river, at 
Cincinnati, village enclosures. These enclosures are, to be sure, 
now destroyed, but descriptions of them have been preserved, 
and trom these we find that they were very similar to those 
situated on Paint Creek and on the Scioto River. Passing still 




further to the west, we come to the Great Miami. The works on 
this river are mainly fortifications and large lookout mounds; 
the fortifications at Hamilton, Colerain and Piqua.and the look- 
out at Miamisburg, being most prominent. There are, however, 
at Alexandria and several other places village enclosures of 
exactly the same type as those found at Chillicothe. This takes 
us across the State of Ohio. The White River is a branch of 
the Great Miami. It rises in the central part of the State of 
Indiana and flows southeast. The White River seems to have 
marked the boundary of this particular class of works. There 
are no village enclosures of the type found in Ohio west of the 
White River. If there are, we are not aware of their existence. 
There are, to be sure, many large forts or defensive enclosures 
scattered along the Ohio River on both sides, but they are not 
works which we would call village enclosures. forts have 
been described by various writers, the most prominent of them 

being the one in Clark 
County, near Charles- 
town, Ind., which has 
been described by Prof. 
E. T. Cox.* As' to the 
northern boundary of 
the district, we find it 
on the watershed, where 
the rivers flow both 
ways, to the north and 
to the south. Here a 
line of earth-works is 
found extending across 
the State, about the same distance from the Ohio River. It makes 
a cordon of village enclosures, some of them being as important 
as any found in the State. Among these are the works at Circle- 
ville, Newark, Alexandersville, near Dayton, and the works on the 
White River, at Cambridge and New Garden, in Wayne County,! 
all of them being near the head of canoe navigation. 

We have thus given the map of the district. It is a map which 
thus includes all the earth-works — military, sacred, village enclos- 
ures, effigies, lookouts and all. We do not ascribe them all to 
one period nor to one race, but we speak of them as found in the 
district. The typical work is the enclosure, the village enclosures 
being more numerous than the defensive. We have thought 
best to call it by the name of the district of the village enclos- 
ures, though the term sacred enclosures is appropriate. We see 
in this map the locality which was occupied by sun worshipers. 
It is also a locality in which serpent worship appeared to be 


-Circle and fiqiiure at Circleville. 

* See Geological Surve.v of Indiana, 1873. p. 122. , „ „ „^ 

tSee Geological Report of Indiana, 1878, description, Mr. .7. C. McPherson. 



6. Let us consider the symbolism in the shapes and sizes of the 
enclosures. We have said that the shape was that of the square 
and circle. This shape is everywhere present within the district, 
though with variations. It is remarkable that there should be 
such a uniformity. It does not seem likely that the uniformit\- 
would rise from accident, but it is more likely thatthcre was a sig- 
nificance to it. The uniformity has impressed many authors. 
The early explorers all mention it as a very striking element in 
the earth-works of the region. There has been a degree of 
skepticism in reference to this point, but the recent survey by 
the Ethnological Bureau confirms the old impression. The 
statements of the early explorers arc confirmed by the last sur- 
vey. We give here a few^ 
fragmentary quotations to 
show that this is the case. 
The old authors claimed that 
the squares were perfect 
squares, the circles perfect 
circles. The new exploration 
seems to confirm this rather 
than to refute it. We take 
the enclosures in the Scioto 
Valley to illustrate. There 
are perhaps more typical 
works in this valley than any- 
where else in the State. The 
following is the testimony of 
Dr. Thomas in reference to 
these. ''The circle at High- 
bank. is a perfect one." " The 
old survey agrees closely with 
the new survey." "Thecircles 
at Paint Creek have geomet- 
rical regularity." " The fig- 
ures of the works which 
were personally examined by Squier and Davis are generally 
correct." "The circle at Highbank is similar in size and other re- 
spects to the observatory circle at Newark, and. like that, is 
connected with an octagon." "We see in this group the tendency 
to combine circles, octagons and parallels as at Newark, making 
it probable that the works at both points are due to one people. 
According to Messrs. Squier and Davis the circle is a perfect 
one. The diameter, which, as will be seen by what follows, agrees 
very closely with the results of the re-survey." "The somewhat 
unexpected results in this and the observatory circle are, first, 
that the figure is so nearly a true circle, and, second, that the 
radius is an almost exact multiple of the surveyor's chain." These 
remarkable admissions are made by one who denies their Euro- 

l| 30 ACRES 11 ^**^^|, 

Fiff. 5— Octagon and Circlr at Newark. 


pean origin and who makes them the work of Indians similar to 
the modern tribes, and who says there is nothing in the form or 
arrangement that is inconsistent with the Indian usages and 
ideas, and nothmg in their form or construction consistent with 
the idea that their conception is due to European influence. With 
these admissions we are warranted in going back to the first 
descriptions which were given by the early explorers, and to 
speak of these works as perfect squares and perfect circles, and 
to draw our conclusions that they were symbolic as well as 
practical or useful structures. Mr. Atwater speaks of the circle 
in the village enclosures at Paint Creek, and says "the area of 
the squares was just twenty-seven acres." Squier and Davis also 
speak of this area of twenty-seven acres bemg a common one. 
The comparison is drawn by Squier and Davis between the 
works at Newark and those at Hopeton and Paint Creek. Ex- 
traordinary coincidences are exhibited between the details, 
though the works are seventy miles apart. He says the square 
has the same area with the rectangle belonging to the Hopeton 
works and with the octagon belonging to Highbank. The octa- 
gon has the same area with the large irregular square at Marietta, 
a place which is still further away from Newark. The conviction 
is forced upon us, notwithstanding all the skepticism that has 
existed, that there was a common measurement, and that the 
square and circle were symbolic, though we do not say whether 
they were erected by Indians or by some other people. 

7. Another argument is found in the fact that walls in the 
shape of crescents are very common. These crescent-shaped 
walls are generally found inside of the smaller circle and consti- 
tute a double wall around a portion of the circle. There are 
also many works where there are concentric circles, containing 
a mound in the center, whose shape would indicate that it was 
devoted to sun worship and whose contents would prove that 
they were used for religious purposes. A notable specimen of 
this is lound at Portsmouth, where there are four concentric cir- 
cles and a mound in the center, the situation and height of the 
mound giving the impression to the early explorers that it was 
used for religious purposes and was a sun symbol. Concentric 
circles and circles containing crescents and mounds are also 
spoken of by Mr. Caleb Atwater as having been found at Paint 
Creek and at Circleville. The large irregular enclosure at one 
of these works contained seventy-seven acres, and had eight 
gateways, another had eighty-four acres and six gateways; but 
outside of one of these enclosures was a third circle sixty rods 
in diameter, in the center of which was a similar circle about six 
rods in diameter, or about one tenth of the larger circle. Here 
we have the large enclosures which were undoubtedly used for 
village sites, but at the same time we have small circles that were 
probably used for religious purposes. 

-'^■^- j^'^ ■-'*«?.-' jS.""-'l^: '^i^^^'^iJ-fi^'^jy;^: 


t >f Aosf't^ mtt 


«iCSi» ...y'-'-, < — „ ^ ,./r,-. I 


„ ..... > -i^r-'-- 

,^\ll?.l -.■.,■., ,« .,,.'1',! ,.,:.'. .V, 

rv..^!'-' .'■vV.'H^*r ,-^x^•,•■ 
^■.' ' ■',•' .I^■J■■' ■■.'.••:■• 

feci J lraj%'»' '^^s <; '!' 



r J 






Mr. Atvvater thinks that the large circles were used* for re- 
ligious as well as for practical purposes. He speaks of the 
circle at Circleville. This was sixty-nine rods in diameter, 
the walls were twenty feet high, measuring from the bottom 
of the ditch, there being two walls, one inside of the other, 
with a ditch between. Within the circle there was a round 
mound, ten feet high, thirty feet in diameter at the top, and around 
the mound a crescent-shaped pavement made of pebbles, about 
sixty feet in diameter. This mound contained two bodies and a 
number of relics A large burial mound ninety feet high stood 
outside of the circle. The contrast between the circle and the 
square atrrac ted the attention of Mr. Atwater. The circle had 
two high walTsTthe square only one. The circle had a ditch be- 
tween the walls, the square had no ditch. The circle had only 
one gateway, the square had eight gateways The circle was 
picketed, "half way up the inner walls was a place where a row 
of pickets stood, pickets which were used for the defense of the 
circle." These facts are significant. They seem to indicate that 
the villages were surrounded by walls which secured them from 
attack; but that there was a symbolism in the shape of the walls 
as well as in the shape of the mounds and pavements and con- 
tents of the mounds. In these respects the villages would be 
called sacred enclosures. 

8. Still another argument is derived from the variation in 
the typical torm. At Marietta we have two squares and no 
circle'except as a circle surrounds the conical mound or lookout 
-Station. At Highbank and Hopeton we have the circle and the 
square, and several other small circles adjoining. At Liberty 
Township we have the square, three circles and a crescent. At 
Cedarbank we have a square with a platform inside of it, but no 
circle. At Newark we have the octagon instead of the square. 
At Clark's Works we have the square, a large irregular inclosure 
and the circle inside. At Seal Township we have the square 
and circle and several elliptical works. At Dunlap's Work.s we 
have the rhomboidal figure and a small circle adjoining. Still, 
the typical shape is the same throughout the entire region. 

II. We now turn to-a new point. The inquiry is whether the 
enclosures which we have seen to be so symbolic were not the 
village sites of a class of sun worshipers. This inquiry v/ill be 
conducted in an entirely different way from the former. We are 
now to look not so much for the symbolic shapes as for the 
practical uses. We maintain that whether they were symbolic 
or not the majority of the enclosures were used for villages. We 
shall first consider the characteristics of village enclosures gen- 
erally, show what a village was supposed to contain, and then 
compare these in Ohio with others to show that they were also 
village enclosures. 

I. We turn to the Ohio villages, and are to ask what their 


characteristics are. These were composed of the foUowin^ 
elements: First, the circumvallation, includin(( the jjatevvays; 
second, the contents, includin<r the phittorm mounds, hurial 
mounds, excavations and other works; third, the lod<^e circles 
adjoinin<( the villarje enclosures, some of them constituting a 
third part of the village, scarcely separated Irom the larger 
enclosures, some of them being quite remote from the village; 
fourth, the parallel walls or covered ways. These were a very 
important element in connection with the village life. Fifth, the 
so-called embankments, which iVtwater says were enclosures 
for diversion or tor games, many of which were found at an 
early day in the valley of the Scioto, but which had disappeared 
before the survey of the works took place; sixth, the circles 
which are gathered in clusters at certain points, remote from 
the villages, which we call the dance circles; seventh, the look- 
out mounds and observatories. These works were all associated 
and all served different parts in connection with village life. We 
see in them, ist, provisions for defense, the circumvallation 
giving defense to the villages, the covered ways also protecting 
the people as they went to and from the villages to the water's 
edge; the lookouts on the summits of the hills furnishing de- 
fense for not only one village, but for many. We see, 2d, pro- 
visions for religion. The character of the earth-works is 
suggestive of religious practices. They are, many of them, 
enclosures, symbolical in shape, elliptical, circular, pyram- 
idal. Some of them were probably temples, the truncated pyr- 
amids being the foundation platforms. The same office was 
filled by some of the s.iT-aller circles, for these were undoubtedly 
used for estufas, sweat houses, or assembly places, and many 
of them were convenient of access to the village enclosure. 
3d. The provisions made for amusement, feasts, dances can be 
recognized in the oblong embankments and the groups of small 
circles. 4th. The provision made for water is found in numer- 
ous wells spoken of bv the early explorers, and in the walls 
which surround them, and in certain ponds near the enclosures. 
5th. Provision was made for safe cultivation of fields in covered 
ways which passed out from the enclosure to the open country, 
and in the watch towers which were placed at the ends of these. 
There were many openings in the covered way, which gave 
egress from the villages to the fields in every direction. 6th. Pro- 
vision was made for navigation and the safety of the canoes by 
running the covered ways down to the water's edge, and there 
making a grade, which should be like a levee, for the landing 
of the canoes. All these peculiarities indicate plainly that vil- 
lage life was the factor which ruled. Everything was subser- 
vient to this. 

If we take the number and sizes of the enclo ures, and then 
look at their situation and all their surroundings, and consider 
the fertility of the plains in which they were located, we will 


have a remarkable picture of village life. It seems almost like 
an Arcadia. The people seem to have been prosperous, and to 
have dwelt in oeace and security. The population was dtnse. 
The organization was complete. Religion had its strong hold 
upon the people; the people lived and died and were buried 
with the sacred religious rites observed on all occasions. They 
filled their altars with offerings to the great sun divinity. The 
most costly sacrifices were made; pipes and beads, carved stone, 
pearls, many precious works of art were thus consecrated with 
great ceremonials. But the scene changed. The invasion of 
an enemy drove them from their seats. Their villages became 
the seats of bloody warfare. They were obliged to leave their 
abodes; other tribes came in and occupied their villages. 

2. We now turn to the specific locations and give descrip- 
tions of the works. We first conunence with the works at 
Marietta and quote the language of the Rev. Dr. Harris, who 
with Rev. Dr. Cutler, examined them and furnished a lull de- 
scription of it. The following is their account: The situation 
of these works is on an elevated plain on the east side of the 
Muskingum, about half a mile from its junction with the Ohio. 
The largest square fort, by some called the town, contains iorly 
acres, encompassed by a wall ot earth from six to ten feet high, 
and from twenty-five to thirty-six feet in breadth. In each side 
are three openings, resembling twelve gateways. A covered 
way formed of two parallel walls of earth 231 feet distant from 
each other, measuring from center to center. The walls at the 
most elevated part inside are twenty-one feet in height; the 
. outside only average five feet in height. This formed a passage 
about 680 feet in length, leading by gradual descent to the low 
ground, where, at the time of its construction, it probably 
reached the river. The bottom is crowned in the center, in the 
manner of a well-founded turnpike road. Within the walls of 
the fort at the northwest corner is an elevated square 188 feet 
long, 132 broad, 9 high, level on the summit. At the center of 
each of the sides are gradual ascents sixty feet in length. Near 
the south wall is another elevated square, 150 by 120 feet, 8 
feet high ; but instead of an ascent to go up on the side next the 
wall, there is a hollow way, ten feet wide, leading twenty feet 
toward the center, with a gradual slope to the top. At the 
other end is a third elevated square, 108x54 feet, with ascents 
at the end. At the southwest corner is a semi-circular parapet 
crowned with a mound, which guards the opening in the wall. 
The smaller fort, contains twenty acres, with a gateway in the 
center of each corner. These gateways are defended by circu- 
lar mounds. On the outside of the smaller fort is a mound in 
the form of a sugar loaf, of a magnitude and height which strike 
the beholder with astonishment. It base is a regular circle, 115 
feet in diameter; its altitude is 30 feet. It is surrounded by a 
ditch 4 feet deep and 15 wide, and defended by a parapet 4 feet 


high, through which is a gateway towards the fort 20 feet in 
width.* See Plate. 

The description of this one village will indicate the elements 
which were common in all the villages, the square enclosures, 
the graded ways, lookout mounds, protecting walls, wells, etc., 
being found in nearly ever}' village. 

It shows also the religious ideas which were embodied in 
many of the village enclosures, the platform mounds and the 
circle about the lookout mounds having probably been used as 
symbols as well as defenses. This same combination of symbols 
with defenses is seen more fully in the elaborate system of works 
found at Portsmouth. These works seem to have been erected 
for purely religious purposes, and we recognize many .symbols 
in them, the square at one end, the concentric circle at the other 
end, and the horse-shoe, the crescent and several other symbols 
in the central group, the whole connected by a wall seven or 
eight miles long. 

III. We now turn to the enclosures of Ohio, but are to con- 
sider them in their defensive capacity. There are three pecu- 
liarities to earth-works of this region, namely : the large major- 
ity of them are enclosures; second, many of the enclosures are 
symbolic in shape, the circle and square being the most prevalent 
symbol ; third, the majority of the symbolic works are very 
strongly fortified, nearly every place which the sun worshipers 
occupied having been furnished with a strong and heavy earth 
wall, which served as a protection to them. The classification 
of the works of the sun worshipers reveals to us a great variety 
of uses, the most of them, however, being such uses as would 
be connected with village life. Rut with the uses we discover 
that defense was as much sought for as was convenience. It is 
remarkable that there were so many walled enclosures in this 
region, but the fact that there was danger always threatening the 
people from a lurking foe will account for these. They needed 
to defend themselves on all occasions, and so they never resorted 
to a place of worship or amusement, they never went to a sac- 
rificial place, they never even went to the fields or to the water's 
edge, but that they must have a wall to protect them. We have 
dwelt upon the symbolism which was embodied in their works, 
but we might dwell even longer upon the view of the defense 
provided by them. It will suffice, however, to say that symbol- 
ism and defense were often united, the superstition about the 
symbol giving them a sense of security as much as the earth- 
works gave them actual safety. We have only to look at the 
different works found in any one locality to see the wonderful 

I. Let us ask what works there are and what uses we may dis- 

*See Harris's Tour, p. 169. 


cover in them. We have first the village defenses. 'T'his we 
see was always protected by a circumvallation. This circumval- 
lation was generally in the shape of a square and a circle, but 
the circle was always protected by a high wall and sometimes by 
two such walls, and the openings in the wall of the square were 
always protected by a watch tower or additional platform guard 
on the inside. Second, there were near the villages many forti- 
fied hill-tops, places to which the villagers could resort in times 
of attack. These fortified hills were generally located in the 
midst of several villages, so that they could be easily reached by 
all. Third, the sacrificial places and the places of religious 
assembly were always provided with circumvallations or long 
covered ways. Nothing of a religious nature was ever under- 
taken unless the people could be protected by a wall. Fourth, 
we find that the sweat-houses, so-called, were always close by 
the village enclosure, but if, by any means, it was remote, there 
was always a covered way provided, so that it could be reached 
in safety from the village enclosure. Fifth, the same is true of 
the dance circles and places of amusement. These were some- 
times remote from the village, but in all such cases there was a 
covered way between the village and the dance ground. Sixth, 
the fields were cultivated, but the fields were reached by passing 
through the parallels or covered ways, and lookout mounds or 
observatories were always provided to protect those at work and 
to sound the alarm to them. Seventh, there were landing places 
for canoes and places at which the villagers could reach the 
water's edge. These, however, were always protected by covered 
ways. Every village had its landing place, but nearly every 
landing place was furnished with a graded and a protected or 
covered way, the canoes being kept from the water and from the 
enemy by the same contrivance. Eighth, we find a few isolated 
enclosures. These are the parallels, supposed to have been used 
for races and other games. They, too, present the peculiarity of 
having a wall to protect them. The sacrificial or burial places 
were also isolated, but even the burial grounds were furnished 
with heavy earth-walls or circumvallations. The lookouts were 
also at times isolated from the villages, but even the lookout 
mounds were surrounded with circles to protect them, and some 
of them were connected with the village sites by covered ways. 
It would seem as if the people were not willing even to trust 
their sentinels or watchmen to the open fields or to risk the 
chance of his reaching an enclosure by rapid flight, but even he 
must be protected by a wall or covered way. 

This presents a new view of the earth-works of the region. It 

shows that the people realized their danger; that while they were 

peaceable themselves and were given to agriculture and to a 

peculiar religious cult, yet they were in the midst of a savage 

.foe which was always lurking near. They remind us in this 



respect of the people who dwelt in the terraced villa^^es of the 
West. They lived in villages and were peaceful and industrious, 
but needed always to guard their villages from sudden attack. 
The mound-builders of Ohio, then, and the Indians of later times 
were plainly very different from one another. 


The forts differ among themselves in many respects. Those 
which were erected by the original Mound-builders — that is, the 
Mound-builders who occupied the village enclosures — are much 
more elaborate than those built by the later tribes. The writer 
has discovered three classes ot forts in this region. The first 
class belongs to village mound-builders, the second to the mound- 
builders who were serpent-worshipers, the third to the race of 


stockade builders. Each class had its own peculiar \\a\' of 
erecting fortifications. The fortifications are more distinctive in 
reality than village enclosures. The enclosures may have been 
occupied by two or three successive populations, the one erect- 
ing the walls and giving to the enclosures the peculiar symbolic 
form of the square and circle, the other occup}-ing the circles 
but placing within them, as signs of their presence, some partic- 
ular efifig}-. The great serpent probably belongs to this race, the 
third race, who erected the stockade forts, but put no symbol- 
ism into their works. The distinction between the first 
two is that one was a race of sun worshipers and the other of 
serpent worshipers, the sun symbol being frequently embodied 
in the earth works which are connected with the village enclos- 
ures, but the serpent symbols being embodied in the walls which 
surrounded the fortifications built b\- the other race. We ha\e 
the two classes represented in a single fort, that at Fort Ancient. 
The upper fort, which is called the new fort, but which in reality 
ma}^ have been the older of the two, has all the characteristics 
ot the village enclosures. It walls are high and angular, well 
defined and furnished with massixe gateways, all showing a high 
degree of architectural skill, the crescent being the only symbol 
contained within it. The lower or southern fort, which is called 
the old fort, differs from this in all respects. The walls are 
ruder, the gateways smaller, the scene wilder, and the symbolism 
stranger and more mysterious. This part, the writer maintains, 
embodied the symbol of the serpent in its walls, the superstition 
of the people being that the form of the serpent in some way 
gave protection to the people. We ascribe to the first class, that 
is, to the village people, the forts at Bourneville. at Hamilton, at 
Massey's Creek, and on the north fork of Paint Creek, called 
Clark's Works ; to the second class, we ascribe the Colerain 
Works and the fort north of Hamilton, leaving the Fort Hill, in 
Highland County, doubtful; to the third class — the stockade 
builders — we ascribe the fort near Granville, those at Four-mile 
Creek and Seven-mile Creek and l^ig Run. and several of the 
works near Hamilton, in Butler County. The peculiarity of the 
forts of the village people is that there were very elaborate gate- 
ways, the walls being very sharply defined, and having re-entering 
angles, some of them being provided with double and triple earth 
works as guards for the entrances. Two of the entrances are 
furnished with what is called the Tlascalan gateway, and the 
other furnished with a most elaborate system of embankments, 
six different semi-circular walls being arranged around a single 
opening, to protect it from the entrance of an enemy. The 
gateways of the race of serpent-worshipers were provided with 
walls in the shape of serpents, and serpents' heads, but with no 
other contrivances except this symbol to guard them. 

This brief review of the forts as related to the symbolism 


will give to us an idea as to the great variety of earth w orks 
found in Southern Ohio. They are all of them enclosures, some 
of them having been used for defenses, others for villages, others 
for burial places, others as council houses, and as dance circles, 
and a few perhaps merely as symbols. The peculiarity of all is 
that they have earth walls which enclose areas, tiiough there are 
conical mounds or solid structures either in the areas or on high 
land overlooking the areas. These enclosures bring before us a 
picture of the native society as it once existed. It is evident 
that the population at one time was very dense, probably much 
denser in the time of the early mound-builders than at any time 
since. The people were then in a peaceful and sedentary condi- 
tion. They were agriculturists. They placed their villages in 
the midst of the rich agricultural country and surrounded them 
with walls, and in some cases built walls which would, in a meas- 
ure, surround their fields, or at least protect the people in going 
to and from them. The forts were placed in the midst of their 
villages on high ground, where there would be a natural defense, 
the cliffs being precipitous. In case of a sudden incursion the 
people might leave their villages and resort to the forts. Their 
villages were situated upon the rivers and were connected 
with the river's bank by covered ways. They navigated the 
rivers by canoes and had landing places for them near their vil- 
lages. Their villages were sometimes close together, givinp"the 
idea that the clans inhabiting them were friendly to one another. 
At other times the villages are isolated and wide apart, giving 
the idea that the people sought room for hunting as well as fer- 
tile spots for agriculture. The villages, however, were all walled 
and the most of them had walled approaches, giving the idea 
that- they were liable to be attacked by a lurking foe, and that 
they continued their pursuits with this constant sense of danger 
in their minds. Everything impresses us with the thought that 
the Indians were foes to the mound-builders, and that the mound- 
builders were well acquainted with Indian ways, the two classes 
— Indians and mound-builders — being very similar in their ways 
and modes of life, though their symbolism was different. 





One of the most interesting localities for the study of the pre- 
historic monuments of this country is the one which is found on 
the banks of Cahokia Creek, some twelve miles from the City of 
St. Louis. Here the largest pyramid mound in the United States 
is to be seen, and with it many other mound structures, which 
are as curious and interesting as the great mound itself. It 
should be said that this is the northernmost point at which any 
genuine pyramid mounds of the southern type have been recog- 
nized, but it is a locality in which all the peculiarities of that 
class of earth-works are exhibited. There is certainly a great 
contrast between these works and those situated in the northern 
districts; but the fact that this large group has been introduced 
into the midst of the northern class, and in close proximity to 
many specimens of that class, makes the contrast all the more 
striking and instructive. 

It has been the privilege of the writer to visit the various 
groups scattered along the Mississippi River from its head waters 
to this point, and to study the characteristics of each group as 
they were gradually brought before the eye. The contrasts be- 
tween the e^gy mounds of Wisconsin and the burial mounds 
of Northern Illinois are certainly very striking. 1 he works of 
serpent-worshipers are, to be sure, intermingled with them, but 
the change from the pyramidal mounds to the burial mounds, 
makes the contrasts all the more impressive. 

The conditions of life in the different parts of the Mississippi 
Valley seemed to have varied according to the climate, soil and 
scenery, but they are so concentrated into a narrow compass that 
one may, by the aid of steam and the railroad train, pass in one 
day from the midst of the wild savage hunters of the north into 
the very midst of the works of the semi-civilized agricultural 
people of the south, and may find the whole panorama of the 
prehistoric races unrolled and the whole condition of society in 
prehistoric times rapidly brought before the eyes. Cahokia 
mound is at first disappointing (see Fig. i), for it is not as 
imposing as some have represented it to be, and yet the con- 
sciousness that a great population once swarmed here and filled 
the valley with a teeming life made the spot a very interesting 
one. There was also a double presence which was forced upon 



the mind — the presence of those who since the beginning of 
historic times have visited the region and gazed upon this very 
monument and written descriptions of it, one after the ether, 
until a volume of literature has accumulated; and the presence 
of those who in prehistoric times filled the valley with their 
works, but were unable to make any record of themselves ex- 
cept such as is contained in these silent witnesses. There is, 
perhaps, no spot in the Mississippi Valley which has been oftener 
visited by distinguished persons and no monument which has 
oftener gone into history. Descriptions of it began as early as 
the time of Marquette and the French missionaries; they appear 
again in the time of Gen. Rogers Clark and the conquest of the 
country from the Indians ; they come out again in the time of 
the early explorers and travelers, Brackenridge, Latrobe and 
others, and continue to the present day, — missionaries, early 

Fig. 1 — Cahokia Mound. 

travelers, military generals, historians and modern archaeologists 
vying with one another in describing the scene. We shall offer 
no minute description of our own, but shall quote from different 
travelers who have visited the spot and who have seen the earth- 
works before they were so sadly despoiled by the aggressions of 
modern days. Probably not one fifth of the mounds and earth- 
works which formerly covered this broad valley, and which also 
surmounted the bluffs adjoining, can now be seen. The growth 
of the great City of St. Louis has destroyed the last vestige of 
the large group which could once be seen there, and all of the 
pyramids, cones, " falling gardens," terraces and platforms, which 
once attracted attention, have disappeared. Twenty-seven large 
mounds once stood on the bluff, making it memorable as the 
location of a large village, which was similar in many respects to 
the one where the great mound now stands, but they have been 
destroyed and can not now be studied. 

We shall go back for our descriptions to the author who has 
given the earliest and fullest account — J. M. Brackenridge. He 
says: "There is no spot in the western country capable of being 

THE GRP:aT CAHOKIA mound. 99 

more highly cultivated or of giving support to a numerous pop- 
ulation than this valley. If any vestige of ancient population 
could be found, this would be the place to search for it ; accord- 
ingly this tract, as also the tract on the western side (Mound 
City, now St. Louis), exhibits proof of an immense population. 
The great number of mounds and the astonishing quantity of 
human bones dug up everywhere or found on the surface of the 
ground, with a thousand other appearances, announce that this 
valley was at one time filled with inhabitants and villages. The 
whole face of the bluff or hill which bounds it on the east 
appears to have been a continued burying giound. But the most 
remarkable appearances are the two groups of mounds or pyra- 
mids — the one about ten miles above Cahokia (a village nearly 
extinct), the other nearly the same distance below it — which in 
all exceed in number one hundred and fifty mounds of various 
sizes. (See map.) The western side (St. Louis) also contains a 
considerable number. A more minute description of those above 
Cahokia, which I visited in i8ii,will give a tolerable idea of 
them all. I crossed the Mississippi at St. Louis. After passing 
through the wood which borders the river, about half a mile in 
width, I entered on an extensive plain and found myself in the 
midst of a group of mounds, at a distance resembling enormous 
hay-stacks scattered through a meadow. One of the largest, 
which I ascended, was about two hundred paces in circumference 
at the bottom. The form was nearly square, though it had evi- 
dently undergone some alterations by the washings of the rains. 
The top was level, with an area sufficient to contain several 
hundred men. The prospect from the mound was very beautiful. 
Looking toward the bluffs, which are dimly seen at a distance of 
six or eight miles, the bottoms at this place being very wide, I 
had a level plain before me, bounded bv islets of wood and a 
few solitary trees ; to the right (the south) the prairie is bounded 
by the horizon; to the left the course of the Cahokia River may 
be distinguished by the margin of wood upon its banks. Around 
me I counted forty-five mounds or pyramids, beside a great 
number of small artificial elevations. These mounds form some- 
thing more than a semi-circle a mile in extent, to the open space 
on the river. Pursuing my walk along the bank ot the Cahokia 
I passed eight others in a distance of three miles before I arrived 
at the largest assemblage. When I reached the foot of the 
principal mound, I was struck with a degree of astonishment 
not unlike that which is experienced in contemplating the 
Egyptian pyramids. What a stupendous pile of earth ! To 
heap up such a mass must have required years and the labor ol 
thousands. Were it not for the regularity and design manifest, 
the circumstance of its being alluvial ground, and the other 
mounds scattered around it, we would scarcely believe it to be 
the work of human hands." Brackenridge also says: "The shape 


is a parallelogram, standing north and south. On the south side 
there is a broad apron or step, and from this another projection 
into the plain which was probably intended as an ascent to the 
mound. The step or terrace has been used for a kitchen garden 
by some monks of LaTrappe settled near this, and the top of 
the structure is sown in wheat. Nearly west was another of 
smaller size, and forty others were scattered about on the plain. 
Two were seen on the bluff at a distance of three miles. I every 
where observed a great number of smaller elevations at regular 
distances from each other, and which appeared to observe some 
order. I concluded that a populous city had once existed here, 
similar to those of Mexico described by the first conqueror. The 
mounds were sites of temples or monuments of great size." 

We have given the quotation for the sake of showing the 
impressions which were formed by the works when they were 
first visited and when the country was in its native wildness, with 
no work of modern civilization to mar the scene. It will be 
learned from the description that there were at the time several 
large groups of mounds — one situated on the bluffs where St. 
Louis now stands; another on the bank of the Mississippi River, 
not far from the present site of East St. Louis; a third on the 
bottom lands, about ten miles below the old village of Cahokia; 
the fourth about ten miles above the old village, which is the 
group in which we are especially interested.* We speak of this 
because there has been a general impression that the celebrated 
"Cahokia" mound,. or more properly "Monk's" mound, is a 
solitary pyramid, and that it has no connection with any of the 
works in the vicinity. Mr. Brackenridge unconsciously corrects 
this impression, for according to his description the works of the 
entire region were all of them of the same class, the majority of 
them having been truncated pyramids. It should be said that 
there are lookout mounds at various pomts on the bluffs, which 
command extensive views across the country into the interior, 
and which must also have served as beacons or signal stations 
for the villages which were scattered throughout the bottom 
lands. Two of these are mentioned by Mr. Brackenridge as in 
plain sight from Monk's mound. One of these is now called 
" Sugar Loaf" It forms a prominent mark in the landscape, as 
its towering height can be seen at a great distance. So favora- 
ble was the mound as an observatory that the Coast Survey took 
advantage of it and made it a station for triangulating. Our 
conclusion is that the whole system of works on the great 
American bottoms was connected together, and that here at the 
mouth of the Missouri, a colony resembling the race of southern 

*Mr. McAdams says there is a group at Mitchell Station, half way between St. 
LouiVand Alton, which contains several large platforms, one of them measurin| 300 
feet on the side, 30 feet high. This mound was excavated for four railroad tracks 
and many relics taken out-copper spools, awls, needles and an ornament resembling 
the shell ot a turtle, and most important, the teeth of a buffalo. 


mound-builders had long made their home, but were driven off 
at some time preceding the date of history by the hunter tribes, 
who came down upon them from the north.* 

We here make a record of an observation which amounts to 
a new discovery, It was noticed by the writer as he ascended 
the great mound that it was in the midst of a large group of 
similar mounds; that the mounds surrounding it were arranged 
in pairs — a conical mound and a pyramid constituting a pair — 
and that each one of these separate pairs was placed on lines 
which are parallel to the sides of the great pyramid, and that 
they were all orientated, the sides always facing the points of 
the compass. It was noticed also that in some cases the ground 
was raised between the truncated pyramid and the conical mound, 
giving the idea that there may have been here a chunky yard or 
play-ground, the same as there was between the public squares 
and the rotundas, which have been described by Adair and 
Bartram as common in the villages of the southern Indians. In 
one case, about half a mile to the east of the great pyramid, there 
was a high platform or pyramidal mound, and immediately ad- 
joining it on the north was a large platform, but at a lower level 
and on the northeast corner of this platform, was a large conical 
mound, the three parts being in close proximity, the arrange- 
ment of the three reminding one of the relative location of some 
of the so-called sacred enclosures of Ohio, where a large circle 
intervenes between a small circle and a large square enclosure, 
the three being joined together by protecting walls. This dis- 
covery of the peculiar grouping of the surrounding mounds was 
made while looking down upon the scene. A very beautiful pair 
of earth-works stands immediately south of the great pyramid, 
each one presenting its sides covered with varied foliage, the 
golden autumnal tints being set-off against the silvery radiance 
of the little artificial lake which lay in the background. The 
size of the pyramids adjoining the great pyramid can be learned 
from the circumstance that nearly all of the large farm-houses in 
the region are built upon the summits, the pyramids being large 
enough to accommodate the houses, with their out-houses, barns, 
lawns and other conveniences of re^^idence. One of these, the one 
at the west had been graded down about eight feet, but others 
were left at their natural height. The houses are arranged along 
the sides of the common highway, which here constitutes the 
line between two counties, the distance from one end of the 
group to the other being about three miles from east to west, and 
two miles from north to south. The arrangement of the group 

*See Antiquities of Monk's Mound, published by W. R. Brink. Edwardsville, III., 
1883; Foster's Prehistoric Kaccs, p. 107: Ancient Monuments, p. iH; Twelfth Report 
Peabody Museum, p. 472. It should be said that the niound which Dr. J. H. Foster 
describes as having been removed was situated at Cahokia, and in that vicinity still 
goes by the name of the great Unhokia nmund. We judge that this mound had a 
tower or conical mound on its summit 10 feet high, which, on exploration, yielded 
human bones, funeral vases and various implements. 


is peculiar. There are pyramids and conical mounds close by 
the side of the great pyramid; beyond these are similar works, 
making several pairs east and west and several pairs north and 
south of the great pyramid, all of them arranged with their 
sides facing the sides of the central pyramid, and all of them 
overlooked by its towering height. There are also many arti- 
ficial ponds, whose waters glisten beneath the dark shadows of 
the many earth-works, making a varied scene. 

2. As to the size and shape of the great mound, we shall give 
the descriptions of others, for the reason that many of them have 
had better opportunities for observing and measuring them than 
we have. It may be said, however, that the descriptions which 
have been written so vary in their details that we are uncertain 
which account to believe. 

Squier and Davis speak of the mound, but seem to have given 
the wrong dimensions. They say : " It covers not far from eight 
acres ; its summit has an area of about five acres ; its solid con- 
tents may be roughly estimated at 20,000,000 cubic feet. It is 
nearly ninety feet high, is built in terraces, and is reached by a 
graded way which passes up at the south end." 

Mr. William McAdams says: " We have surveyed the group, 
and found that the great pyramid is surrounded by seventy-two 
others of considerable size within a distance of two miles. The 
largest axis of the pyramid is 998 feet, the shortest is 721 feet, 
and it covers sixteen acres, two rods and three perches of ground. 
He says : " After many days of exploration and study, we believe 
the evidence to prove this to be a group of the greatest mounds 
on this continent and perhaps in the world, and possibly this was 
the Mecca or great central shrine of the mound-builders' empire. 
Upon the flat summit of the pyramid, one hundred feet above 
the plain, were their sanctuaries, glittering with barbaric splendor, 
and where could be seen fiom afar the smoke and flames of the 
eternal fire, their emblem of the sun." 

Prof. Putnam says : " Situated in the midst of a group of about 
sixty mounds of more than ordinary size, several in the vicinity 
being from thirty to sixty feet in height, and of various forms, 
Cahokia mound, rising by four platforms or terraces to a height 
of about one hundred feet, and covering an area of about twelve 
acres, holds a relation to the other tumuli of the Mississippi 
Valley similar to that of the great pyramid of Egypt to the other 
monuments of the valley of the Nile." Dr. J. J. R. Patrick, re- 
siding in the vicinity, has made a survey of the group and pre- 
pared two accurate models of the mound itself— one of them 
representing the mound as it now exists. 

Featherstonaugh visited the mound in 1844, and says that the 
settlement of the monks was on a smaller mound to the west, 
but at the time of his visit the building in which they had lived 
had been leveled with the ground. He also states that a Mr. 


Hill was living in a house he had erected on the top of the great 
mound; that upon digging for the foundation, "he found large 
human bones, with Indian pottery, stone axes and tomahawks." 
We judge from Brackenridge's account that there was no road- 
way to the summit in his time, but that the one which now 
appears must have been made by Mr. Hill, the owner, and that 
the well which is now in ruins was dug by him.* 

In reference to the present condition of the mound, we have 
to say that an air of waste and ruin surrounds it; deep gullies 
are worn into its sides, and it seems to be wrinkled and ridged 
with the marks of its great age. See Plate I. Though sur- 
rounded by many other structures, on which there are signs of 
modern life, this seems to be deserted. The very house which 
was found upon its summit has been leveled to the ground, and 
the home of the present owner, situated a little to the rear of it, 
seems to hide itself in the shadows of the great monster. It 
stands like a solemn monarch, lonely in its grandeur, but impos- 
ing in its presence. Though the smoke of the great city may 
be^seen in the distance, and many trains go rumbling across the 
valley and through the great bridge which spans the river, vet 
this monster mound stands as a mute witness of a people which 
has passed away. It is a silent statue, a sphinx, which still 
keeps within its depths the mystery which no one has as yet 
fathomed. It perpetuates the riddle of the sphinx. 

3. As to archaeological relics. It is remarkable that the spot 
continues to yield such an amount of them after so many years of 
exploration and curiosity hunting. In the field adjoining one 
may find beautiful fragments of pottery, some of which bear the 
glaze and red color which formerly characterized the pottery of 
the Natchez Indians. There are also vast quantities of bones 
hidden beneath the surface, and one can scarcely strike a spade 
through the soil without unearthing some token of the prehis- 
toric races. Mr. Ramey, the owner of the mound, speaks about 
digging in one part of the field and finding heaps of bones eight 
feet deep, and says that the bones are everywhere present. The 
\vorkmen who were engaged in digging ditches for underdraining 
had a few days before come upon large quantities of pottery and 
skeletons of large size, but had carelessly broken them instead 
of preserving them. As to the character of the pottery and the 
patterns contained in them, we notice some remarkable resem- 
blances between the pieces exnumed here and those which are 
found in the stone graves of Tennessee. One specimen was 

*A well was dug bv Mr. Hill. This well was eighty feel de^p. At sixty feet they 
found fragments of potterv and corn carbonized and bones. The water from the well 
was never used, as it always had a peculiar taste, and the supixjsition was that hu- 
man bodies were buried in the mound. The cellar dug by Mr Hill showed the 
moSnd to be stratified. An excavation by Mr. Ramey, on the north side, revealed 
the same. A piece of lead or galena was found at the end of the tunnel, which ex- 
tended about fifteen feet in towards the center of the mound. McAdams says the 
area on the top is au acre and a half. 



especially interesting. It represented a squirrel holding in its 
paws a stick, the teeth placed around the stick as if gnawing it, 
the whole making a handle to the vessel. We noticed also a 
frog-shaped pipe made from sand-stone, and many other animal- 
shaped and bird-shaped figures. The object which impressed 
us most was a sand-stone tablet, which contained figures very 
much like those found upon the inscribed tablets taken from one 
of the mounds of the Etowah group in Georgia. It was evident 
that this tablet was covered with a mysterious symbolism, and 
suggested the thought that the same people who erected the 
southern pyramids, and who embodied in them the various sym- 
bols of sun-worship, also erected here these great mounds under 
the influence of the same powerful religious cult. What that 
cult was, we shall not undertake to describe, but it was undoubt- 

Fig. 2. — Big Mound at St. Louis. 

edly a superstition which held under its control the entire people 
and led them to erect these great monument even at the expense 
of long and protracted labor. 

4. In reference to the symbolism which was embodied in this 
great work, we may say that the terraces are four in number, the 
first, second and third being about thirty feet in height, the fourth 
being at present but about four feet, though it has been reduced 
from its original height. The terraces seem to cut across the 
whole face of the great pyramid on the south and west sides, 
but the north and east sides are steep and inaccessible. There 
is a striking analogy between this pyramid and the one at Copan 
in Central America. See Fig. i . There is also the same method 
of orientating the pyramids here and in Central America that is 
found in ancient Chaldea and Assyria, though here the sides are 


toward the points of the compass rather than the angles. The 
pyramids are built in stages, though there are here only tour 
platforms; in Chaldea there are seven. Our conviction is that a 
race of sun-worshipers occupied this region, but it was a race 
which differed materially from the serpent-worshipers which 
dwelt immediately north of them and whose effigies we have 
recently discovered. We are aware that Mr. McAdams believes 
that the dragon was symbolized in some of the molded pottery 
and that the famous image of the Piassa, which formerly was to 
be seen on the face of the rocks near Alton, belonged to the 
same people who erected these pyramids. He also says : "As he 
looked down from the conical mound south of the great pyramid 
upon the pond which lies below, he seemed to be looking into 
the ever-present eye of the Manitou that had glared at him from 
the bluffs and caverns, and which is so common on ancient pot- 
tery, the oldest symbol in the world." We are free to say that 
the pond does have a remarkable resemblance in its general con- 
tour to the symbol which is composed of eyes and nose, and 
and which is supposed to have been significant of the face of the 
sun and at the same time contained the phallic s)'mbol. 

It will be noticed that the pyramid mounds were built for a 
people who differed very materially from the wild Indians who 
roamed over the northern districts, as their tribal organizations 
and wild condition did not admit of the social grades which are 
apparent here. Still it is worthy of mention that a Kaskaskia 
chief told Gen. George Rogers Clarke that it was the palace of 
his forefathers, that "the little mountain we saw there flung up 
with a basin on top was a tower that contained a part of the 
guard belonging to the prince, as from the top of that height 
they can defend the king's house with their arrows." 

When the Indian tribes were visited by Ferdinand De Soto, he 
found the whole territory filled with walled towns. Sometimes 
they contained a population of several thousand inhabitants, and 
they were surrounded by palisades and protected by gateways. 
The house of the chief or sachem of the tribe was often built 
upon an artificial mound, and so-called temples or altars of wor- 
•ship were built upon raised foundations of earth. Some writers 
describe these mounds as the places of burial for their dead 
chieftans ; but others as the residences of the chief or brother of 
the sun; and by others it is stated that the house of the great 
sun stood upon one mound and the temple of the priest was on 
another mound — both of the same height. Here, however, we 
have not only the residence? of the chiefs and priests, which 
were undoubtedly erected on the summit of the mounds, but we 
have in the center of them all the great temple. It is probable 
that this was the assembly place of the tribe, and that there was 
a building which corresponded to the "long house" of the Indians 
and the capitol of the white man, and that the different pyramids 



were built for the accommodation of the chiefs and ruling men 
of the clans which may have lived here. The whole structure 
was significant of the grades of society which probably existed 
among the people. 

II. We now turn to the mounds formerly at St. Louis. These 
mounds were in some respects fully as interesting as those at 
Cahokia Creek. The peculiarities of the group were as fol- 
lows: I. They were arranged in a line along the second terrace 
parallel with the river and in full sight of the stream itself. 2. 
There was in the center of the line a group which was in the 
form of an amphitheater, the back part ol the group forming a 
graceful curve, but the front part being flanked by a pyramid on 
one side and the falling gardens on the other. 3. Several ot 
the mounds were terraced, the terraces all being on the east and 

-iritninrTi''"' "■vn'''ir'ii'"irn 

^ ~ n nA 

Fig. S.—Map of Works at St. Louis. 

SO situated as to give a good view of the river. 4. The big 
mound, concerning which so much has been said, was located at 
the extreme north of the line. This seems to have been attended 
by a series of irregular pyramids, all of them of large size and 
on high ground, so making the entire series to resemble the 
great terraced villages of the west, the pyramids being arranged 
in banks or steps along the entire bluft. 

The arrangement of the pyramids deserves attention. This 
seems to have varied according to the situation. Those in the 
vicinity of the Monk's mound extend nearly three miles in one 
direction and two in another, but the great mound occupies the 
center and overlooks the whole series. Cahokia Creek flows 
just north of the great mound and divides the group, several 
mounds being north of the creek. The group on the bank of 
the river near East St. Louis, according to the descriptions 
given of it by Brackenridge, was in the shape of a crescent, 


which opened upon the river. This group was formerly situated 
where the business part of St. Louis now stands. It was ar- 
ranged along the edge of the terrace for the space of about 
three quarters of a mile. In the center of the line was a group 
containing several pyramids, arranged about an open area, a 
pyramid at either side, the falling garden being situated at an 
angle of the area. The whole group was so arranged that a 
view of the river could be obtained from the summit of each 
pyramid. The group was in a sightly place, and commanded 
a view in all directions. See Fig. 3. 

Brackenridge describes this group as follows: "It is situated 
on tiie second bank and disposed in a singular manner. They 
are nine in all, and form three sides of a parallelogram, the open 
side toward the country being protected by three smaller 
mounds placed in a circular manner. The space enclosed is 
about 300 yards in length and 200 in breadth. About 600 
yards above this is a single mound, with a broad stage on the 
river side. It is 30 feet in height, 150 in length ; the top is a 
mere ridge 5 or 6 feet wide. Below the first mound is a curious 
work called the 'falling garden.' Advantage is taken of the 
second bank, nearly 50 feet in height at this place, and three 
regular stages or steps are found. This work is much admired. 
It suggests the idea of a place of assembly for the purpose of 
counseling on public occasions." Mr. A. C. Conant says that 
the "big mound" which once stood at the corner of Mound 
street and Broadway is the terraced mound represented by Mr. 
Brackenridge as located 600 yards north of the main group. 
He says there were formerly many other mounds in the vicinity 
of St. Louis, rivalling in magnitude and interest those just 
described. The second terrace of the Mississippi, upon almost 
every landing point, was furnished with them. The "big 
mound" was destroyed in 1S69. It was found to contain a 
sepulchral chamber, which was about 72 feet in length, 8 to 12 
feet wide, and 8 to 10 teet in height; the walls sloping and 
plastered, as the marks of the plastering tool could be plainly 
seen. Twenty-four bodies were placed upon the floor of the 
vault, a few feet apart, with their feet toward the west, the 
bodies arranged in a line with the longest axis; a number of 
bone beads and shells, sea shells, drilled with small holes, near 
the head, in quantities "sufficient to cover each body from the 
thighs to the head." 

We call attention to the arrangement of the terraces in this 
group. They seem to be directed toward the east or the river 
side, and commanded a view of the river and of the mounds 
upon the opposite side of the river. 

Mr. Say says: "Tumuli and other remains are remarkably 
numerous about St. Louis. Those immediately northward of 
the town are twenty-seven in number, arranged nearly in a line 
from north to south. The common form is an oblong square, 


and they all stand on the second bank ot the river. It seems 
probable that these piles of earth were raised as cemeteries, or 
they may have supported altars for religious ceremonies. We 
can not conceive any useful purpose to which they could have 
been applicable in war, unless as elevated stations from which 
to observe the motions of an approaching enem3\ Nothing 
like a ditch or an embankment is to be seen about any part of 
these works." This remark about the "elevated stations" is a 
suggestive one. It may be that the people assembled upon 
these terraces to observe the scene sprerd out before them, a 
scene which abounded with peaceable pursuits. The valley 
was covered with a teeming population, large canoes were 
passing to and fro upon the river, villages were scattered over 
the rich bottom land in every direction, the pyramids on which 
the chiefs had built their houses loomed up in the midst of the 
ordinarv houses in the villages, the lofty tovvers or lookouts on 
the bluffs, surmounted by sentinels or watchmen, were covered 
with beacon fires by night or with smoking signals by day^ 
while in the midst of the scene the great mound stood as ^ 
gigantic temole, with its terraces covered with the troops of 
superstitious people, who assembled there to protect the shrine 
on the summit. Above' this the smoke from the sacred fires 
arose in a spiral into the face of the sun. It was a scene sug- 
gestive of busy life, but there was a strange superstition which 
pervaded everything, filling the air with its awe-inspiring effect, 
the sun being the great divinity worshiped by the entire people 
— its rising being met by adoration from morning to morning, 
and its course watched bv those who regarded it as a divinity. 
It will be remembered that the celebrated picture rocks which 
Marquette describes as having been seen by his party, of which 
the natives seemed to be in mortal fear, were situated not far 
from this spot. These pictures have given rise to many strange 
stories. It is said that they were in the shape of huge animals, 
with human faces, horns issuing from the head, wings sur- 
mounting the body, all parts of the animal kingdom being 
mingled into one hideous-looking creature. It is said also that 
there are caves in various localities, hidden away among the 
rocks.. The bluffs surrounding the valley are strangely con- 
torted. The lakes and ponds in the midst of the valley had 
formerly a wild, strange air about them. Agriculture was fol- 
lowed here, for agricultural tools have been taken from the 
ground in great numbers, but it was agriculture carried on in 
the midst of wild scenes. There must haue been a dense pop- 
ulation, for it is said that the plow everywhere turns up bones 
in great numbers, and the sides of the bluffs are filled with 
graves, in which many prehistoric relics have been found. There 
is no place in the Mississippi Valley where so many evidences 
of the strange life and strange superstitions which prevailed in 
prehistoric times are found. 


III. We take up the comparison between the pyramids. It 
"vvill be noticed that there is a general resemblance, both in the 
shape of the individual pyramids and in the arrangement of the 
pyramids in the groups. Here at St. Louis one group has a great 
mound in the center with the other mounds around it; the other 
group has an open area in the center and the pyramids placed 
at the sides of the area, as if to guard it and make it a place of 

We first turn to the comparison of the northern mounds with 
the pyramidal mounds in the Southern States, and are to notice 
the resemblances. The number and location of these pyramids 
are at present somewhat uncertain, but they seem to have been 
distributed throughout the entire region covered by the Gulf 
States. They are numerous in Louisiana, Mississippi, Georgia 
and Alabama. A modified form of pyramid, not so large nor so 
well made, is found also among the stone graves of Middle Ten- 
nessee, as well as among the lodge circles of Arkansas. Trun- 
cated pyramids, or rather platform mounds, are common also 
throughout the southern part of Ohio, though they are not 
pyramids in any proper sense of the word. Still, if we take the 
shape as a standard, and consider the platform mounds having 
graded ways as one type of pyramid, we should find that the 
distribution of the pyramidal mounds was very extensive. There 
was formerly an elevated square or platform mound at Martin's 
Ferry, near Wheeling, and in connection with it a conical mound, 
the two reminding us of the rotunda and public square of the 
Cherokees. This is the easternmost point where such works have 
been seen. The westernmost limit of mounds of this pyramidal 
type cannot be determined, yet it seems that there are specimens 
of the kind at points on the Missouri as far north as Dakota and 
even larther. The pyramids found inside of the celebrated enclo- 
sure called Aztlan, in Wisconsin (see Fig. 4), have been compared 
to those which are common in Middle Tennessee, and the walls 
with bastions surrounding the enclosure have been compared to 
those at Savannah, Tennessee, and to those at Evansville, Ind., 
and it has even been suggested that this ancient city was built 
by a colony from the south. It is, at least, the northernmost 
point at which pyramids have been recognized, the so-called hay- 
stack mound in Dakota being considered a specirnen. The pyr- 
amids at Atzalan are on high ground, near the bastioned wall, and 
overlook the entire enclosure. There is a graded way to one 
of them and an elevated causeway connecting it with the lodge 
circles on the flat below. The effigies are just below the bluft' 
or natural terrace pyramids. On the bank of the river are two 
rows of lodge circles, with a level street between them. A low 
platform may be seen near the lodge circles and a pond near 

*The group at Madison Parish, La., resembles those at .St. Louis, the great mound 
at Seltzertown those at Prairie Jeflferson, and those near Washington resemble these 
on Cahokia Creek. 



the platform. There are ponds near all the platforms and pyr- 
amids, water seeming to have been an essential to the religious 
assembly places, as in all parts of the country. There are 
effigies within a mile of this enclosure, and it is supposed that 
the long irregular mounds inside of the enclosure were effigies. 
These pyramids in the ancient cit}^ of Wisconsin are inter- 
esting because they show that the effigy-builders were also 
pyramid-builders and perhaps sun-worshipers. The assump- 

4 f'^ii 

Fig. It.— Pyramids and Effigies at Aztlan, Wisconsin. 

tion has been that marks of architectural progression were ob- 
servable in the distribution of the ancient works. Prof. J. T. 
Short says: 

" Men all around the world have been pyramid-builders. The 
religious idea in man has always associated a place of sanctuary 
with the condition of elevation and separateness. The simple 
mound, so common in the northern region of the United States, 
represents the first step in providing a place of worship, the 
construction of an artificial hillock upon the summit of some 
bluff or hill. The next step would be the construction of some 
religious effigy representing animals sacred to the mound- 


builders. The enclosures with the truncated pyramids, which 
are found in Ohio, would be the third step. The highest artis- 
tic form is found in the truncated pyramid, with its complicated 
system of graded ways and its nice geometrical proportions." 
As a theory, this seems verj' plausible, but as a matter of fact 
P3'ramids are found among the effigies as well as enclos- 
ures. The superstition which required the erection of earth- 
works as the embodiment of their idea of sacredness is an 
element which is very poorly understood. Sun-worship and 
animal-worship ma}' have existed together in Wisconsin, as 
serpent-worship and sun-worship did in Ohio. Fire-worship 
and serpent-worship seemed to prevail in certain parts of Illinois. 
The only district where sun-worship prevailed without any 
mixture of animal or serpeut worship was in the Southern 
States. Here it seems to have been mingled with idol-worship, 
the progress of thought being as perceptible in the works of 
art and archaeological relics as in the earth-works, the pyramid 
and idol having been associated in these southern districts. 

We base no theory on these facts, merely mention the locali- 
ties where works of the pyramidal type have been discovered. To 
some minds they would prove a migration from the north or 
northwest to the south and southeast, and would show that the 
mound-builders gradually developed from the low stage of ani- 
mal-worship up through serpent worship to the higher grade of 
sun-worship, the different types of earth-works marking the 
different stages through which they passed. To other minds, 
however, they would prove the spread of a secret order, or the 
wanderings of a class of priests or medicine men, who intro- 
duced their occult system into the different tribes, making the 
pyramid the foundation for the houses in which they celebrated 
their mysterious rites. Another explanation is that tribes migrated 
from the south to the north, and that as they migrated they took 
the various religious systems which prevailed among them in 
their former condition, but in other respects they yielded to the 
new surroundings and became wilder and ruder in their mode of 
life, the pyramid being about the only sign of their former state 
that is left. These are, however, merely conjectural theories. 
The home of the pyramid-builders as such was not in north- 
ern territory, for it is understood that the pyramids are mainly 
found in the Gulf States, and that in that region they were de- 
voted to sun-worship, which is the cult to which the pyramids 
are sacred in all parts of the globe. 

As to the use of the pyramids, it has been generally sup- 
posed that the pyramids were all built on thebanks of streams or 
on low ground which was liable to be submerged. The object 
of building them was to make them a place of refuge or retreat 
in time of high water. Such may have have been the case with 
these works near Cahokia, on Cahokia Creek, and yet the pyra- 


mids upon the west side of the river were upon high ground, on 
the third terrace, which is never reached by the water. The same 
contrast may be recognized in other places. Many of the pyr- 
amids on the Mississippi River are on low ground, and near the 
banks of the river, or near some bayou which is conected with 
the river. There are, however, certain pyramids remote from 
any stream, and situated on high land and in such positions as 
to preclude the idea that they were built for retreats. The Mes- 
sier mound is a specimen of this kind. It is not one of a group, 
but stands apart, prominent in its size, marked in its peculiarities 
and attended with a single conical mound. This pyramid re- 
minds us of the truncated platform at Martin's Ferry, West 
Virginia, though that is in the region where squares and circles 
are the typical shape. The Etowah mound, in Georgia, is on 
low ground which is liable to be flooded, but there are pyramids 
on the left bank of the Ocmulgee River, opposite the City of 
Macon, which are situated upon the summit of a natural hill, and 
occupy a commanding position. This, we think, disposes of the 
idea that the pyramids were built only for refuges for the peo- 
ple in times of high water. They were evidently typical struc- 
tures, which were erected under the power of some religious 
sentiments and were the results not only of the religious system 
but are significant of the tribal organization. The custom among 
these tribes was to place the houses of the chiefs and priests 
upon a higher level than those of the common people. There 
is a great contrast between the works of the northern districts 
and those found in the southern or Gulf States in this particular. 
In the northern districts the hunters' life prevailed, and the people 
were on an equality with the chiefs and priests or medicine men. 
In the southern districts the people were agriculturists, but there 
existed among them a superior class — clan elders, chiefs, and 
priests or medicine men, having great power; but the people 
were contented with their exercise of power. This was the case 
among the tribes after the beginning of history. We call them 
all Indian, but a great difference existed between the Indians 
who were mere hunters of the forests in the north and those 
who were the agriculturists in the south. 

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One of the most striking peculiarities about the Mound-build- 
ers was that they avoided the coast and concentrated their forces 
thoroughly in the interior, making the rivers their special places 
of resort. We have already spoken of this in connection with 
the Mississippi River, and have shown that it was the great 
thoroughfare for the prehistoric races, the migrations of the 
races having been along its channels in both directions. Some 
of the races — such as the Dakotas — are known to have passed 
up from the south to the north, Perhaps the Mound-builders 
passed down from the north to the south at an earlier date. The 
Missouri River was another great artery which supplied life to 
the Mound-builders' territory. It is said that there are various 
mounds of the pyramidal type on the Missouri River, and that 
these have been traced at intervals along the channels, giving 
evidence that this was the route which the pyramid-builders took 
before they reached the stopping place. At its mouth was the 
capital of the pyramid-builders. The Ohio River was also an 
artery of the Mound-builders' territory. It was the channel 
through which the various Mound-builders poured. The Ohio 
River was the dividing line between the northern class of mound- 
builders, who were probably hunters, and the southern class, who 
were agriculturists. It was itself occupied by a people who 
were in a mingled agricultural and hunter state. They were, 
however, so surrounded by war-like tribes as to be obliged to 
dwell in fortified villages; and so it was the home of the "village" 

There is no more interesting region in all the mound-builders' 
territory than this one through which the Ohio River ran. It 
was the favorite resort for the Mound-builders throughout all 
the prehistoric times. There were prairies to the west, which 
were occupied by a class of people whose works and relics are 
still prevalent, whom we call nomadics. There was to the east 
and northeast another class of Mound-builders — a class whose 
works show that they were military in their character, possibly 
the same race which recently dwelt in New York State, and who 
also left their tokens all along the shores of the great lakes and 
extended into the State of Michigan. To the south and south- 
east were the remarkable works which have been ascribed to the 
Cherokees, some of which belonged to an unknown class of 
Mound-builders who preceded them. To the southwest were 
the many different tribes of mound-builders — the stone grave 
people, the lodge dwellers and the pyramid-builders 



The pyramid-builders were situated farther to the south, in 
the Gulf States, though a portion of them were located at the 
mouth of the river, in Illinois. There are also pyramids scat- 
tered along the Missouri River as far north as Dakota. Some 
have thought that this proves that that they came originally from 
the northwest and that their route was down this river. This 
theory is not carried out, however, by tradition, for one of these 
make the pyramid-builders to have originated in Mexico and 
their route to have been from the west to the east. Another 
makes their origin to have been somewhere west, but their route, 
owing^to enemies which they met, was up the river on one side 
and down on the other, and so across the Ohio into Tennessee 
and the region east, into the neighborhood of the Atlantic coast. 


Vv it 


■■;*«■"■_ "^■^*vf 

Vi *^?v». 


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Fig, 1. — Grave Greek Mound. 

These, however, were all on rivers connected with the Ohio, so 
that one could pass from the region of the Ohio Mound-builders' 
to nearly all the other districts where mounds have been discov- 
ered and not leave the boat or canoe in which he started, as the 
rivers were all navigable. VVe see, then, that the Ohio River 
was very central, that it not only traversed the mound-builders' 
territory, but. with the Mississippi and the Missouri, may be said 
to have drained the entire upper half of it, and by its branches 
— the Cumberland, the Tennessee and the Kenawha — it also 
drained much of the lower half. 

Now we propose to enter this district and make a special study 
of it. We shall study it, however, mainly as a thoroughfare, 
through which the Mound-builders passed, or as a center from 
which they scattered, and shall seek evidences of their migra- 
tions, and, if possible, learn the direction they took, and the 
dates or periods, or at least the order of each. It should be 




noticed at the outset that the Mound-builders of the Ohio River 
were divided into different classes, some of them being earlier 
and some later in the district. Several may be recognized. It 
still further may be stated that along this river a division has 
been recognized in the works of the district, one class being 
situated at the head-waters of the Alleghany River, another on 
the Muskingum and Scioto, a third on the Miami, and from the 
Miami to the Wabash, a fourth on the Wabash, from the Wabash 
to the Missouri, a fifth class on the Cumberland and the Ten- 
nessee, a sixth class on the St. Francis in Arkansas, a little beyond 
the mouth of the Ohio, and a seventh class on the Kentucky 
and the Kenawha. All of these are, however, closely connected 
with the Ohio, as the great artery through which the life of the 
mound-builders flowed. 

We find a great variety of races in these localities, as each 
sub-district had a class of earth-works peculiar to itself — the 

z^Httru^i*^ If B G S'fiUi- HATT' 

Fig. 2.— Map of Works on Paint Creek, 

chambered tomb on the Alleghany, of which the Grave Greek 
mound is a type (see Fig. i); the sacred circles and village enclo- 
sures on the Scioto (see Fig. 2) and Muskingum; the ancient 
forts on the Little and Big Miami (see Fig. 3); the conical 
mounds on the Wabash River (see Fig. 4); the lodge circles and 
walled villages on the St. Francis River; the stone graves on the 
Cumberland River (see Fig. 5), and the bee-hive tomb on the 
Kenawha River. The strangest feature of all is that in this 
region we find the representatives of all the mound-builders' 
woiks — the great serpent representing the effigy-builders, the 
altar mounds and fire-beds apparently representing the hunters 
of Iowa; the pyramids near Evansville representing the pyra- 
mid-builders; the bee-hive tombs representing the mountaineers 
in North Carolina; the circular enclosures, representing the sun 
worshipers ; some of the fortifications representing the military 
people of New York ; the stone forts representing the stone 
grave people of Kentucky and Tennessee, and the ash pits rep- 
resenting the later race of hunters which traversed the region at 
a late date. 



We may say, then, that it is a peculiarly favorable place to 
study the migrations of the Mound-builders, as well as of the 
later Indians. Now in reference to this subject of migration, we 
are aware that various writers have treated of it, and it may be 
regarded as a test case, having great bearing on the mound- 
builders' problem. It may be well, then, to refer to these opin- 
ions before we go further. We shall speak first of the theory 
which Dr. Thomas has advanced. It is that the Mound-builders 
of the Alleghany River, those of Southern Ohio, of the Kenawha 
Valley and of Eastern Tennessee, were all the same people and 
were the ancestors of the Cherokees. Opposite to this theory 
is that of Sir Wm, Dawson, who holds that the Mound-builders 

Fig. S.—Fort at Hardinsburgh, on the Miami River. 

were a people similar to the Toltecan race. Their features re- 
semble the softer features of the Polynesians. Dr. Dawson 
thinks, however, that the Algonkins were a later people and that 
they came from the southeast, or, as he says, from the "equator- 
ial Atlantic" — a theory perfectly untenable. Dr. Horatio Hale 
holds that the Algonkins came from the northwest, but that they 
found the Mound-builders before them. He locates them at first 
north of the Ohio, making their course to be south and across 
this river. Dr. Daniel Wilson, however, holds that the Mound- 
builders were made up of a number of races; some of them were 
allied to the Toltecan, or, possibly, to the Malays ; some to the 
Algonkins and the Mongolian stock; and some to the ancient 
Hochelagans, of which the Eries and the Alleghans were the 
fragments. The opinion we advance is similar to that of Dr. 
Wilson, but in addition we would suggest that some of them were 



allied to the Iberians, and that the sun-worshipers and serpent- 
worshipers of the Ohio River were similar to the class who left 
their symbols in Great Britain and in Western Europe. 

Here, then, we have the different theories, and are to take our 
choice out of them all. Our work, however, is not to advance 


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and prove a theory, but to study the tokens and ascertain what 
their testimony is. We enter the field, which is very rich in 
prehistoric works, but these require the closest study for us 
to separate the tokens and assign them to the proper dates and 
order and races, and learn from them the order and the direction 
which those races observed in their migrations. 

The question is. How are we to do this? We answer that 
there are three ways. First, we may take the location and the 



traditions of the Indians; second, we may take the works of 
this district and compare them with other earth-works, noticing 
the resemblances and studying the similarity of customs and 
habits; and, third, we may take the relics of the Mound builders 
and see what relics are found in this district, and how they com- 
pare with those found elsewhere. V/e take the Ohio as con- 
nected with other rivers and as a center as connected with other 
centers, and see that it was a great thoroughfare for the prehis- 
toric races. 

■If ^I<^JKS»^ 

32 Jlcres ^^ 

Fig. 5.— Typical Fort of the Stone Grave People. 

I. First, let us consider the traditions of the Indian tribes as 
to their migrations: i. The Cherokees were a tribe situated, at 
the opening of history, among the mountains of East Tennes- 
see and perhaps as far east as North Carolina. There is a com- 
mon tradition that the Cherokees were at one time in the Ohio 
Valley. 2. The Dakotas ; this tribe or stock was, at the opening 
of history, located west of the Mississippi River, in the State 
which bears their name. The Dakotas have a tradition that they 
were once on the Ohio River, and that they migrated from there 
to the west. 3. The Natchez were a tribe formerly situated 
near the City of Natchez. They were sun-worshipers. It is 
supposed by some that the Natchez built the sun symbols in 
Ohio, but that they changed their methods and adopted the 
pyramid as their typical work afterward. 4. The Tetons, a 



branch of the Dakotas, were probably once in this region, though 
their home was afterward in the northern part of Georgia. 5. 
The Eries have been spoken of as possibly the ancestors of the 
Mound-builders and as belonging to the same stock as the Alle- 
ghewis of tradition. 6. The Shawnees, a tribe of the Algonkin 
stock. They were great wanderers, and left their tokens in 
many localities. The district is full of graves of the Shawnees, 
which are interspersed among the works of the preceding 
mound-builders, but which are easily distinguishable from them 
by their modern appearance and by certain characteristics which 
are indefinable, but which are nevertheless easily recognizable. 
7. The Iroquois have reached as far south as the Ohio River. 
We should undoubtedly find various relics left by this tribe in 
the periods preceding history. 


Fig. 6.— Burial Mounds on the Scioto River, Ohio. 

Now the point we make is that possibly we may find in the 
traditions of one or all of these tribes something which will help 
us to identify the mounds and relics of the region with the peo- 
ple who built them. We must, however, consider one thing 
before we undertake this. While there are traditions among the 
Indians as to their former struggles and conquests about this re- 
gion, there are also evidences of preceding migrations, and this 
evidence comes to us as a confirmation that the Mound-builders 
here were not one people but many. In fact, it was a swarming 
place for several tribes or stocks. With this point in mind we 
may safely take up tradition as one source of evidence. The 
great rivers are supposed to have a record of migrations written 
upon their banks, the works and the various traditions of the 
Indians being by some identified with each river and the promi- 
nent mounds on each having been identified as the seat of some 
great event known in history or tradition. 

It is well known that the tradition, which has been repeated so 
many times by the natives and gathered by the missionaries and 
by Schoolcraft, Heckwelder and others, in relation to the very 
migration we are now considering, has been located in many dif- 
ferent places — first on the Mississippi, next on the St. Lawrence, 


next on the St. Clair. It seems to have found its last resting place 
in this very district, at the head-waters of the Ohio. The cele- 
brated Grave Creek mound is said to be the very spot where the 
event is commemorated. Now we would not depreciate the 
value of the tradition as one of the connecting links between the 
history of the Mound-builders and the modern Indians, but refer 
to the point as an evidence of the importance of discrimination 
in the matter of migrations. 

Haywood says the Cherokees had a tradition in which was 
contained the history of their migrations. It was that they came 
from the upper part of the Ohio, where they erected earth- 
works. But there is a map contained in Catlin's book on the 
Indians which represents the route taken by the Mandans, a 
branch of the Dakotas. This map makes Ohio the starting 
point of that people, and the head-waters of the Missouri the 
termination of their wanderings. We regard this tradition as 
important as that of the Delawares or of the Iroqnois, but it is 
a tradition which gives just the opposite direction for the route 
of the Mound-builders of the district. How shall we reconcile 
the two accounts? Our method of reconciling is one which we 
take from the study of the mounds. The Dakota tradition refers 
to a migration which probably preceded all the records of either 
the Teleghewi, the Cherokees, the Delawares and the Iroquois, 
the migration of the strange serpent worshipers originally occu- 
pying this district. Our position is that ali of the traditions are 
important, but they prove a succession of populations in this 
region. If Dr. Thomas is to locate the Cherokees here, we also 
locate the ancestors of the Dakotas. and leave the way open for 
others to locate other tribes, so making the Mound-builders not 
one. but diverse and long continued. This is our point. 

We may well take up the study of locality as connected with 
the traditions. Heckwelder says the Lenni Lenape resided, many 
hundred years ago, in a distant country in the west. They 
migrated eastward, and came to a fort and large town of the 
Namaesippi, as they called the country occupied by the Telle- 
ghewi,who had many large towns and regular fortifications. 
One of these towns was near the mouth of the Huron, and here 
are the mounds containing the bodies of the slain Telleghewi. 
Heckwelder also says the Mengwe and the Lenni Lenape united 
their forces, and great battles were fought. The enemy fortified 
their large towns and erected fortifications on the rivers and 
lakes. The war lasted many years. In the end the invaders 
conquered and divided the country between them. The Mengwe 
made choice of the lands in the vicinity of the great lakes, and 
the Lenape took possession of the country to the south. The 
Alleghewi, finding destruction inevitable, abandoned the coun- 
try and fled down the Mississippi, from whence they never re- 
turned. Here, then, we have the Algonkin account, and we 


seem to be looking at a picture of the Mound-builders who 
had occupied the territory. There is a discrepancy, however, 
in the tradition, or rather the interpretation of it. The scene is 
located on the Namaesippi. which Heckwelder calls the Missis- 
sippi, and the flight is down that river ; but Heckwelder, in 
another place, locates one great battle nearly west ot the St. 
Clair and another just south of Lake Erie, where hundreds of 
the Telleghewi were buried in the mounds. This tradition 
accords with the passages in Cusick's narrative, a narrative which 
comes from the Iroquois rather than from the Delawares or 
Lenapes. It also may accord with the poetical account contained 
in the Walum Olum, or the red score of the Delawares, trans- 
lated by Dr. D. G. Brinton. Mr. Hale, in The American Anti- 
quarian, has said that the country from which the Lenni Lenape 
migrated was "Shinake, the land of fir trees." the woody region 
north of Lake Superior, and thinks that the River St. Lawrence 
is meant by the word great river Namaesippi. He, however, 
locates the battle mounds at St. Clair and the Detroit River and 
makes the Hurons the allies of the Lenape. All the accounts 
agree in this, that the Telleghewi were east of a great river and 
that they were defeated and driven south. Dr. Thomas thinks 
that the tradition assists him in carrying out the full identifica- 
tion of the T^elleghewi with the mound-builders of this middle 
district, whom he regards as the ancestors ot the Cherokees. 
He says that the Telleghewi or Tsalake was the name the Cher- 
kees gave themselves. The tradition of the Cherokees refers to 
the region of the Upper Ohio as their former home. The testi- 
mony of the mounds and of the Walum Olum are in accord 
with the Grave Creek mound and those found in the Kenawha 
Valley, and when compared with the Ohio mounds prove that 
this was their home and the retreat was by way of the Kenawha 
River. Now this is very plausible, and, so far as it goes, it may 
prove satisfactory. Still we may say that there are traditions 
which locate other tribes in the same region, tribes which are of 
entirely different stock from the Alleghewi. On this point we 
would refer to the map contained in Catlin's Indians and to the 
one prepared by Mr. J. O. Dorsey. These show that the tradi- 
tionary route of the Dakotas was in the opposite direction from 
that of the Cherokees. 

II. We now turn to the earth-works. We have said that 
there are many earth-works in this district, and that they can be 
divided both according to their geographical location and their 
chronological horizon. We have also said that the representa- 
tives of the works of other districts are found in this, and that 
these representatives may help us to identify the people who 
once passed through this great channel. We are now to take 
up the different districts and see what similarities there are. Let 
us first notice the centers of population. It is very remarkable 



that these centers very closely correspond in .the historic and 
the prehistoric times. To illustrate : The effigies are near the 
cities of Madison and Milwaukee, Wisconsin ; the burial mounds 
of one class are not far from St. Paul, another class not far from 
Davenport, Icwa ; the serpent mound (see Fig, 8) not far from 

Quincy. Illinois ; a 
pyramid mound just 
opposite St. Louis, 
others near the City 
of Natchez, Mississ- 
ippi; the stone grave 
people near the City 
Nashville. Tennes- 
see; the bee - hive 
tombs near the City 
Knoxville, Tennes- 
see ; the Grave Creek 
mound not far from 
Pittsburg; the sacred 
enclosures near Chil- 
licothe, Newark and 
Cincinnati, and the 
very large conical 
mounds near De- 
troit, Vincennes (see 
Fig. 4), Dayton and 

Here, then, we 
have a map of the 
country, with the 
centers marked. The 
rivers [also unite 
these centers — the 
Alleghany, Muskin- 
gum, the Miami, the 
Wabash, the Cum- 
berland, the Tennes- 
see, the Illinois, the 
Wisconsin, the Iowa, 
the DesMoines, the 
Missouri, the St. Francis, the Red, the Arkansas, the Yazoo, the 
Ocmulgee, the Tombigbee, the Kenawha and the Kentucky, and 
they all contain mounds on their banks. 

III. The que3tion is about the resemblances between the works 
in these different centers and those on the Ohio. There may be 
resemblances where there were no migrations, but the probabil- 
ties are that they were caused by the adherence of the migrat- 
ng tribes to their former customs, the people retaining the signs 



and burial customs wherever they went. This is seen in many 
districts. The sun-worshipers built the circles and squares, the 
serpent-worshipers built serpent effigies, the pyramid-builders 
built platforms, the hunters built lookout mounds and game 
drives, the military people built forts ; but they went elsewhere, 
for we' find serpent effigies, circular enclosures, lookout mounds, 
fortifications, burial chambers, altar mounds and pyramids in 
other localities as well as here. 

We give here cuts of the serpent in Ohio and of the serpent 
efficrv near Ouincy, Illinois. These effigies are respectively 
1250 and 1406 feet in length. They are both conformed to the 
shape of the bluffs on which they were erected, and have other 
features which are similar. 

This, then, is the point we make in connection with the mid- 
dle district. ' We enter this district and find that different races 

Fig. S. — Serpent Mound in Illinois. 

passed through it. Some were early and some late. We also 
find that the tribes went in different directions, some going to 
the south and along the sea coast, and became the sea coast 
people; some to the southwest, across the mountains, and be- 
came mountaineers; some to the west, to the prairie region, and 
became hunters; some to the Gulf States, and became agricul- 
turists. All the works in these different districts show that the 
people were once in the middle district and had made the Ohio 
River, or at least a part of it, their stopping place. There is, 
however, one thing to be noticed. While the representatives of 
all the districts are contained in the Ohio Valley, yet the 
different parts of that valley are to be considered, for the pyra- 
mid-builders never appeared on the eastern waters, the sun- 
worshipers never in the western part, the fort-builders erected 
their wcrks in the middle part, and the serpent-worshipers 
merely passed through or crossed over the central part, and ulti- 
mately built their works in distant regions. This is the way we 
reconcile the different theories, as to the modern migrations 
which are recorded in history and in tradition. The Cherokees 
may have migrated through the eastern part of this valley. If 
they did, it was at a comparatively recent date, for all their works 



and relics show this. The Shawnees may also have passed up 
and down the same valley, but this was at a recent date. We have 
reason to believe that a race of sun-worshipers preceded these 
and that this race built the sun circles on the Kenawha River, 
in West Virginia, and on the Wateree River, in South Carolina, 
although it is very uncertain which direction they took in their 

There is another fact which should be noticed. The mounds 
were built at different times, and by different races. They con- 
tain layers which are like the strata of geology. These give 
different chronological horizons and represent different periods. 
An illustration of this is given. See Fig. 9; also Fig. ii. Here 
we have a mound which contains a horizontal burial, two bodies 
in a sitting posture, and an altar at the base. These were not 
intruded burials, but were the work of successive races or tribes 
which passed through this valley, each one of which added to 
the height of the monnd. The same thought is conveyed also 



Fig, 9. — Altar Mound on the Kenawha. 

by the different kinds of mounds found in one locality. Some 
tribes built chambered tombs, others stratified mounds and others 
altar mounds. 

We take up the chambered mounds first, the class of which the 
Grave Creek mound is the representative. We say that this 
class of mounds is somewhat exceptional in Ohio, but they seem 
to be later than the sacred enclosures, or at least they are to be 
assigned to a different race. We notice from the description given 
by Squier and Davis that they are rarely if ever found inside of 
enclosures, but are generally isolated on hilltops. We find also 
that they contain an entirely different class of relics, and are 
constructed after a different pattern. 

It seems to be the opinion of certain archaeologists that the 
Grave Creek mound is the one which figures conspicuously in 
tradition, and that this is the monument of the Alleghewies or 
Cherokees. It may be said of it that it differs from most of the 
mounds in Ohio in that it is isolated, having no earth-works in 
the neighborhood. It is a chambered mound. In fact, it con- 
tained two chambers, one above the other. Each chamber was 
square and contained a number of bodies. The manner of 
building the chamber was as follows: A scries of timbers or 
posts were placed on end, forming the wall of the chamber. 
Other timbers were placed across these upright posts, so as to 


form a roof. This roof had decayed and fallen in, so that when 
the mound was first visited it contained a hollow place at its 
summit. At the time of the exploration the two chambers be- 
came mingled together, the dirt falling from the upper into the 
lower. There is no doubt that the same race erected both 
chambers. The mound was a very high one, was situated so as 
to give a view of the Ohio River, and may have been used as a 
lookout station as well as a burial place. The Grave Creek 
mound also contained one skeleton in the upper chamber, and 
two in the lower chamber, and it may be conjectured that they 
were sepulchral chambers, which contained the bones of the 
family of the chieftan or distinguished individuals among the 
tribe of the builders. With these skeletons were found three or 
four thousand shell beads, several bracelets of copper and various 
articles carved in stone. It is said, however, that on reaching 
the lower vault it was determined to enlarge it for the accommo- 
dation of visitors, and in so doing ten more skeletons were 
discovered, all in a sitting posture, but in so fragile a state as to 
defy all attempts at preservation. We might say in connection 
with this Grave Creek mound and the theory that it was built 
by the Cherokees, that the tablet about which so much discussion 
has arisen, was said to be found in the lower chamber, though 
it may have dropped from the upper one. It is now over twenty 
years since the tablet was thrown out of court, its evidence 
having been impeached so many times that it has no weight in 
solving the problem. Still, inasmuch as the Cherokees have an 
alphabet, which was said to have been introduced or invented by 
the Cherokee Sequoia, and as other stones have been discovered 
with alphabetic characters on them, perhaps the case should be 

There are very few mounds in Ohio which contain chambers 
like these. While there were various mounds which contained 
single chambers made from logs, they were generally compara- 
tively small mounds, and the chambers within them were much 
smaller. Squier and Davis have spoken of a sepulchral mound 
on the east bank of the Scioto River, one of a group, which was 
twenty-two feet high by ninety feet base. At ten feet below the 
surface occurred a layer of charcoal; at the depth of twenty-two 
feet was a frame-work of timber, nine feet long, seven feet wide 
and twenty inches wide, which had been covered with unhewn 
logs. The bottom had been covered with bark matting, and upon 
the matting was a single skeleton. Around the neck of the 
skeleton was a triple row of beads made of marine shells, several 
hundred m number, and the tusks of some animal. This is the 
mound, however, to which we have referred already. It was a 
mound which, in its location, showed that it was not one which 
belonged to the sun-worshipers. It was situated six miles from 
Chillicothe, on a hill, a mile and a half from any enclosure, 



though surrounded by other burial mounds of the same shape. 
See Fig. 6. This mound we ascribe to a different race from those 
who built the altar mounds and the enclosures. 

Dr. Thomas speaks of two mounds in the Kenawha Valley, 
one called the Smith mound and the other No. 23, one being 35 
feet high and 175 feet in circumference, the other 25 feet high 
and 312 feet in circumference. Both contained chambers made 
from logs, one of them 13 feet long and 12 wide, the other 12 
feet across and some 10 feet high. Both were in the form of a 
pen. It appears that the great Smith mound contained five skel- 
tons, one very large, over seven feet long. Each wrist was 

encircled by copper 

Fig,, 10— Village Enclosure on the Scioto River. 

bracelets; upon the 
breast was a copper gor- 
get; in each hand were 
three flint lance-heads; 
near the right hand a 
small hematite celt and 
a stone axe; upon the 
shoulder three sheets of 
mica and a fragment of 
dressed skin, which had 
been preserved by the 
copper. Another mound 
situated in the valley of 
the Scioto River, on the 
very lowest terrace (see Fig. 10), where the water frequently over- 
flowed, was excavated and found to contain chambers, or vaults, 
one above the other. These vaults were larger, and of different 
shapes, being 36 feet in diameter, and circular in shape. They 
were built by posts placed upright, 1 1 inches apart, the upper 
vault having two circular rows of posts, but the lower only one. 
On the floor of each vault were several skeletons. There were 
also logs or timbers in the lower vault, giving the idea that this 
one was also built in the same way. Dr. Thomas says there 
were some indications that the burial was comparatively recent, 
as a bone showing the cuts of a steel knife was found in the 
vault. The fact that the mound was on the low ground over- 
flowed by the river also shows that it was recent, as all the old 
mounds were on the terraces above the flood plain, and were 
evidently built when the water covered the flood plain, while this 
one was built after the flood plain had been drained. The large 
vaults with the modern relic, Dr. Thomas thinks, were used as 
council houses and that they resemble those used by the Cher- 
okees after the time of history. The discovery of a similar vault 
by Mr. Lucien Carr is referred to in evidence. This vault, so 
called, was on the top of a truncated oval mound in Lee County, 
West Virginia. It was evidently a rotunda, such as the Chero- 


kees used as their places of assembly, as there was a row of 
posts arranged in a circle, showing this. The argument which 
Dr. Thomas dwells upon is that the proximity to the circle and 
square called the Baum Works proves it to have been built by 
the same people. This, however, is the very point we make on 
the other side. It proves the succession of races, and shows 
that the Cherokees were among the last in the region, but were 
not the village sun-worshipers, as is suggested. The vaulted 
mounds have not been found in the circles or squares, nor in 
connection with the covered ways or double circles, nor do they 
contain any such finely carved relics as belonged to the earlier 
class of sun-worshipers. These are very rude and the mounds 
are differently situated. 

IV. The mode of burial practiced by the Mound-builders is next 
to be considered. Dr. Thomas, in his work, has shown one 
mode of burial which was quite remarkable. It seems to have 
consisted in the digging of a circular pit, and then placing bodies 
in the pit and building stone cones or chambers over the bodies. 
This pit with stone vaults and skeletons was explored by the 
agent of the Bureau of Ethnology. It is a true circle, 38 feet 
in diameter, not more than a foot and a half in height. The 
bee-hive shaped vaults were built of water-worn boulders. The 
skeleton was placed upon its feet and a wall built up around it. 
On the top of the head of one skeleton, under the capstone, were 
several plates of silvery mica. Many of the stones of the little 
vaults bore unmistakable evidences of fire. The only relic found 
was a pipe, found near the mouth of one This pit was covered 
with a very low mound. Near the mound was a triangle, which 
proved to be a communal grave. It was a burial pit. The two 
long sides of the triangle were 48 feet each, and the other side 
32 feet. The depth varied from two and a half to three feet. 
Here was a bee-hive shaped vault of cobble stones. In the pit 
a skeleton, and a large engraved gorget were with it; a number 
of large-sized shell beads; at the sides of the head, near the 
ears, five copper beads or small cylinders; under the breast, a 
piece of copper; about each wrist a bracelet, composed of alter- 
nate beads of copper and shell; at his right hand were four iron 
specimens, one of them in the form of a thin celt; another 
apparently a part of the blade of a long slender knife or dag- 
ger ; another a part of a round awl-shaped instrument. Scattered 
over and between the skeletons of this group were numerous 
polished celts, discoidal stones, copper arrow-points, plates of 
mica, lumps of paint. About 200 yards east of the triangle was 
another low mound, covering a circular pit similar to the one 
described, in which were twenty-six skeletons. In a different 
part of the same county another similar pit, containing a kind 
of communal grave, in which were the following articles: One 
stone axe, 43 polished celts, 9 pottery vessels, the handle of one 


representing an owl's head and another an eagle's head, 32 arrow- 
heads, 20 soapstone pipes, 12 discoidal stones, 10 rubbing stones, 
6 engraved shells, 4 shell gorgets, i sea shell, 5 large copper 
beads, a few rude shell pins. Among the shell gorgets was one 
containing four birds' heads with the looped square figure, a 
symbol of the sun, and a figure of the cross enclosed in a circle. 
The soapstone pipes were of peculiar shape. One of them had 
a bowl in the shape of a tube, but with a flat stem or mouth- 
piece. A number of pipes similar to this have been found in a 
mound in Sullivan County, East Tennessee. Others have been 
found in West Virginia. A very modern-looking pipe is also 
presented by Dr. Thomas, though he does not state exactly 
where it was found. This group of mounds or burial pits was 
situated on the borders of the white settlement, a locality where 
we would expect to find the traces of contact with the whites. 
The Cherokees long resided on the mountains of East Tennes- 
see. They took the patterns for their pipes from the whites, but 
they retained many other relics. The symbolism they held in 
common with other tribes was perpetuated intact. 

One fact is to be noticed. In one of the mounds in North 
Carolina, the one which contained the circular pit, some eight 
or ten skeletons with heads which had been elongated by arti- 
ficial pressure were discovered. The Catawbas are said to^ have 
practiced this head flattening, as did many of the Muskogee 
stock. The explorations on the Little Tennessee River among 
the overhill towns, yielded a number of relics which resembled 
those found in North Carolina. The mounds here contained a 
peculiar style of clay beds, saucer-shaped, varying in diameter 
from six to fifteen feet, built in layers, one above another, three 
to five beds, with a layer of coal and ashes between them. In 
one mound were found a number of skeletons, and by the side 
of nearly every skeleton were shell masks, shell pins, shell 
beads, perforated shells, engraved shells, discoidal stones, polished 
celts, arrow-heads, spear-heads, stone gorgets, bone implements, 
clay vessels and copper hawk bells. The hawk bells were with 
the skeleton of a child, at a depth of three feet and a half. They 
were in the form of sleigh bells, but with pebbles and shell 
beads for rattles. In another mound on the Little Tennessee, 
two miles trom Morgantown, were found nine skeletons, and 
with one were two copper bracelets, copper beads, a small drilled 
stone, an engraved stone which had some ot the characters of 
the Cherokee alphabet on it. The argument which Dr. Thomas 
makes in connection with these finds is that the mound-builders 
were Indians, and the particular tribe who built these mounds 
were Cherokees. The argument is, however, misleading. It 
may be forcible as proving the migration and the modern char- 
acter of the Cherokees, but it begs the question as to the other 
tribes of mound-builders. The tribes which were formerly lo- 





Surveyed hy Jamtt X. JIv/m»«. 
County Survtytr. 

Scale: aOcbs. u> the iuclu 




cated along the Atlantic coast and on the Alleghany mountains 
have never been recognized as belonging to the Mound-builders. 
Many of these works are to be connected with the historic 
Indians, such as the Powhattans of the Algonkin stock and the 
Tuscaroras of the Iroquois stock. The value of the finds con- 
sists in the fact that the record of the Cherokees is carried back 
into prehistoric times and the record of mound-building brought 
up to modern times; but to make the Cherokees the mound- 
builders of the Mississippi Valley is absurd. The Cherokees 
may have passed over a portion of the Mound-builders' territory, 
precisely as the Dakotas are supposed to have done at an early 
time and as we know other tribes — such as the Shawnees, Dela- 
wares, Iroquois and Wyandottes — did after the time of the 
discovery; but the probability is that their route was over the 
eastern part and not the western. 

That there was a succession of races is seen from the study 
of the burial mounds. Fig. ii illustrates this. In this mound 
we find at the bottom a circular vault three feet deep and 6 feet 
in diameter, filled with chocolate dust. No. i. Next to this was 
a layer, marked 2, containing the bones of fifteen or twenty 
persons. Above them a layer of burned clay. Above this, in 
No. 4, was a mass of calcined bones, mingled with ashes and a 
reddish brown mortar burned as hard as brick. 

The bee-hive vault has been dwelt upon as proof, but the bee- 
hive vault resembles the bee-hive huts, which are common in 
Scotland, as much as it does any structure found in Southern 
Ohio. Shall we say that these bee-hive vaults prove the Chero- 
kees to have come from Scotland ? The Cherokees are said to 
have been very white, and might almost be called white Indians. 
Shall we trace the Cherokees back to a white race, which, accord- 
ing to some, was allied to the Aryan? Their language is said 
to be related to the Dakotas. The earliest known migrations 
of the Dakotas were from the east. Shall we, then, trace both 
the Dakotas and Cherokees back to the island of Great Britain, 
making the route of their migration to be by way of Iceland and 
the coast of Labrador, and take the coincidence between the bee- 
hive huts and bee-hive vaults and make out a case in that way? 

The effigy mounds of Southern Ohio, especially the great 
serpent, the bird mounds of Northern Georgia, the effigies of 
Wisconsin and the stone effigies of Dakota are assigned by 
some to the different branches of the Dakotas — the Tuteloes 
having once been located in Northern Georgia, not far from 
where the bird effigy is; other tribes — such as the lowas and 
Mandans — having, according to tradition, carried these symbols 
to Dakota ; the Winnebagos, another branch, had their last 
abode in Wisconsin, where the effigies are so numerous. 

Our argument is for the migration of the Dakotas as preceding 
that of the Cherokees. According to Thomas there are, in the 



mounds of the Kenawha Valley, several different kinds of burials, 
some of them resembling those found among the Cherokees; 
but the trouble is that these have all been mingled together 
as if they all belonged to one tribe, whereas they prove that 
several tribes passed through this region. Let us enumerate the 
different forms of burial mounds which Dr. Thomas has assigned 
to this tribe, i. We find the bee-hive tombs in North Caro- 
lina. These were found in a circular pit. 2. 'The triangle con- 
taining graves and modern relics. 3. The mounds with burials 
between bark coverings in East Tennessee. 4. The square 
chambered tombs in the Grave Creek mound, in the Kenawha 
mound, and those on the Scioto. 5. The round chambers, 
lined with upright posts, contained within the pyramid mound 
on the flood plain in the valley of the Scioto. 6. The altar 
found at the bottom of one of the mounds in the Kenawha 


Fig. 11.— Stratified Mound in Wisconsin. 

Valley (see Fig. 9), resembling those found in Ohio. 7. Altars 
made from cubical piles of stones, found in Eastern Iowa, re- 
sembling those found in Tennessee. 8. The altar beds in Cal- 
houn County, lUmois, resembling others in Tennessee. 9. The 
square piles of stones in Franklin County, Indiana, resembling 
those found in Tennessee. Besides these there were the stone 
graves found in the Kenawha Valley, those in Illinois, and those 
found in the bottom of the pyramid mound at Etowah, Georgia, 
the stratified mounds found in the neighborhood of Davenport, 
the chambered tomb found in Wisconsin, the stone vaults found 
on the Mississippi and the Missouri Rivers. 

The important point we make is this : The burials referred 
to above are so varied that it is absurd to ascribe them to any 
one Indian 'tribe, either Cherokee, Shawnee or Dakota.* True 
the analysis and comparison might enable us to assign those 
northwest to one general class; those on the Missouri River to 
another; those on the Upper Mississippi to a third; those on the 
Middle Mississippi to a fourth; those on the Southern Missis- 
sippi to a fifth ; those on the Cumberland to a sixth ; those on 

•The reader wHl find a description of the diflferent burials in the chapter on burial 
mounds. See American Antiquarian, Vol. XI, No. 6. 


the Upper Ohio to a seventh; and those on the Wateree River 
and in East Tennessee to the eighth class. This is, however, 
only repeating what has been said before the Mound-builders 
were divided into several distinct classes, and differed according 
to location, — each tribe having its own peculiar earth-works and 
burial mounds and relics. So far as the classes and districts are 
concerned, there is no great difficulty in tracing the tribes which 
occupied these subsequent to the time of history, back to the 
Mound-building period and in identifying them in some of the 
burials which have been preserved ; but to say that these his- 
toric tribes were the builders of all the mounds in the district is 
going contrary to the facts, for there is too much variety in the 
mounds of each district to admit of this. 

We are ready to acknowledge the resemblance between these 
circles in the Kenawha Valley and those on the Wateree River 
in South Carolina, and especially the similar significance of the 
circle with the mound in its center, which seems always to be a 
sign of sun-worship. Squier and Davis have called attention 
to the general similarity between the southern mounds and the 
Ohio mounds, especially to the fact that there were spiral paths 
around the outside of them. They speak of the council or 
oblong mound in the circle on the Wateree River, with a cir- 
cumference of 550 feet at the base and 225 feet at the top, and 
30 feet high. They say, however, that while this region was 
occupied by the Cherokees at one time and by the Ocmulgees 
at another, still that the country was, many ages preceding the 
Cherokees, inhabited by one nation, who were ruled by the same 
system of laws, customs and language, but so ancient that the 
Cherokees or the Creeks could give no account of them or the 
purposes for which they erected the monuments. High pyram- 
idal mounds, with spacious avenues leading to artificiallakes.and 
cubical yards, with sunken areas and rotundas, are the charac- 
teristic works of the south — works which the Cherokees adopted 
and used, but which, it is said, they did not build. The contrast 
between the two classes is marked, as the water cultus is plain 
in one and sun-worship in the other, and yet the connecting link 
may be found in the circles we are describing. 

This thing we can rely upon, however: The mounds, earth- 
worths and relics are so arranged in districts, and so correlated 
to those districts, that we may safely give names to the people 
of the district; but they must be names which are taken from 
the ancient works, rather than from the modern tribes. This is 
the case even when we think that we have traced the migration 
of the ancient races, for, after all that we may do, it is still an 
open question whether the ancient races and the modern works 
can be fully identified. 

Modern races followed the ancient in all the districts; but the 
ancient relics were transmitted, and modern relics intruded in 


such strange, unaccountable ways and out-of-the-way places, as 
to make us pause before we give a certainty to our speculations 
in regard to this subject. The monitor pipes, the duck pipes, 
the shell gorgets, the inscribed shells, the copper relics, the gold 
ornaments, and various other relics, may be scattered through 
the mounds of each separate district, and at the same time be 
found in the hands of the later Indians occupying these districts ; 
but the traditions, the relics and the earth-works in these same 
districts, often compel us to go back of these people and to assign 
a long succession of tribes to the district, so that we may say it 
is actually easier for us to trace the migrations of the Mound- 
builders from one district to another than it is to trace the history 
of the district, back through its different periods of occupation. 

Here, then, we have the evidence. The migrations of the 
pyramid-builders, like that of the stone grave people, may have 
been across the Ohio Valley at the west end. The migra- 
tion of the circle-builders, sun-worshipers, may have been north 
or south, across the Ohio Valley at the east end; but, on the 
contrary, the serpent-worshipers, whose works are found on the 
Ohio River and on the Mississippi River, must have migrated 
through the whole middle district, the Ohio River being the 
thoroughfare. It does not seem reasonable that they were the 
same people who built the bee-hive vaults or even the chambered 
tombs, for not one such one structure is found in all their west- 
ern track, 

Our conclusion is that there were various migrations of mound 
builders through and across the Ohio Valley, some of them 
having been sun-worshipers, some of them serpent-worshipers 
and some pyramid-builders. If any of these are to be identified 
with the Cherokees, others with as much reason may also be 
identified with the Dakotas, the testimony of tradition and of 
language, as well as of archaeolgy, corresponding on this point; 
but this by no means precludes us from beiieving that there were 
other races or tribes of Mound-builders which preceded these, 
the history and names of which have not yet been discovered, 
and so they can not be identified with any modern tribe. 





One of the most noticeable things in connection with prehis- 
toric times is that village life was so prevalent. This seems tu 
have been common in all ages and among all xaces, but it was 
especially prominent among the Mound-builders. It was in fact 
the element into which they threw their own peculiarities and 
which embodied their cultus. The Mound-builders' villages 
were not all alike, for every district had a style of village pecular 
to itself, and yet they differed from those of other races, and are 
therefore worthy of our study. This is the factor which may 
enable us to draw the line between the different periods of occu- 
pation, and help us solve the Mound-builder problem. 
-The picture of the Mound-builders' territory which we have 
presented is one in which different classes or tribes occupied 
different districts, filling each district with their own peculiar 
cultus. The picture is a varied one, for the tribes or classes 
followed different employments, used different implements and 
showed different grades of advancement. The conditions of society 
were correlated to physical surroundings. There seems to have 
been, also, changes among the people at various times ; migra- 
tions from one district into another, the abandonment of earth- 
works of one class, and the erecting of a similar class of 
earth-works in another region, the routes of migration being 
marked by the tribes, either in entering their territory or in 
departing from it. 

The location of the modern tribes of Indians, with their pecu- 
liar habits and customs, has also come into the picture and been 
a prominent feature in the scene. The panorama has been a 
moving one; in fact, the changes have been so numerous that it 
has been difficult to distinguish the earlier from the later tribes, 
and much confusion has been the result. It is probably on this 
account that many have confounded the Mound-builders with the 
Indians and classed both together, not realizing that the Mound- 
builders' cultus was so distinct. 

I. The character of the villages is the test by which we deter- 
mine the cultus which prevailed in a certain period of time and 


in particular localities, and is the especial means by which we 
ascertain the Mound-builders' cultus. We speak ot the Mound- 
builders' cultus because it was distinctive, in fact, as distinctive as 
the cliff-dwellers or the lake-dwellers, or the Aztec or Maya cul- 
tus, and because it furnishes us a definite name for a specific period 
of time and helps us to separate that time from that which pre- 
eceded, and that which followed; but the cultus was embodied 
in the village life as much as in any other element, and we shall, 
therefore, point to this as the factor which will enable us to dis- 
tinguish the cultus. Village life may, indeed, have prevailed 
among the Indian tribes, as it prevailed among all of the unciv- 
ilized races, both in this continent and in every other one. Mr. 
Stanley informs us that villages were very common in Central 
Africa, that all the trails led through villages ; travelers have 
spoken of the villages of South America and have pictured the 
roadways which led from one city or ancient village to another. 

The early and later explorers maintain 
that there were roadways in Central 
America, Yucutan and in Honduras, 
which led from the ancient cities to 
the sea coast, and from the sea coast 
to islands. We do not maintain that 
village life was peculiar to the Mound- 
builders — as it was everywhere preva- 
lent, and was as common among the 
later as the earlier races — but its f^- 
„. , ,,.„ .,, ^r . c , tures were distinctive. 

Fig. 1.— Village with Water Supply. ^, . , , . , ,. ^. • i ^i 

The features which distinguish the 
villages of the Mound-builders are as follows: i. The presence 
of earth-works, which in one way or another form an enclosure, 
either as walls, as pyramids, as circles, burial mounds or effigies. 
They may have been used as burial places, as lookouts, as altars, 
game drives, places of assembly, but all of them were connected 
with the villages. 2. The abundance of relics in the mounds, de- 
posited as offerings, or personal belongings, gives evidence of a 
numerous population, which had its center in the village. 3. The 
earliest villages were those of the Mound-builders, and can be 
distinguished from the villages of the later Indian races by their 
age. The burial mounds show a succession of races, but the 
burials which are the earliest, or lowest down, may be taken as 
those of the Mound-builders*. 4. The villages of the Mound- 
builders were generally located upon the high land and were 
attended with lookout mounds, trails or roadways, and other 
signs which indicate that they were connected with one another, 
showing that the occupants were the permanent possessors of 

*See Chap. I, p. 30; Chap. IV, p. 53-58: Chap. V, Burial Mounds, p. 65-74; Chap. 
VIII, p. 123. 


the entire region.* 5. The evidence of an organized condition of 
society is given by the villages of Mound-builders; the villages 
were occupied by clans, the clans were arranged in tribes, tribes 
were gathered into confederacies. 

The grade of advancement in the earth-works and relics dis- 
tinguished the Mound-builders' villages from those which either 
preceded or followed,and furnishes a good test as to the Moun l- 
builders' cult. 

I. Let us take up first the study of the earth-works. Many 
of these were located on ground where modern cities have grown 
up, but there was a time when they were the most marked 
objects in the landscape, and the record of them is more com- 
plete than that of the temporary Indian villages which have 
been gathered in the same spot. The center of population was 
in the village throughout all ages, but in the Mound-builders' 
age the villages were more extensive than at any other time and 
were perhaps as imposing in ap- 
pearance as many of the villages 
built by the white man, and were 
especially in contrast with those of 
the Indians. 

Indian villages were often erect- 
ed in the midst of Mound-builders' 
enclosures; Indian graves intruded 
into the tumuli of Mound-builders, 

and Indian relics are found mingled ' ' ' j 

with Mound-builders' relics. But if^.^ ,_^,.„^^^,^,.^^^„^^^^.„^^^„„„^_^ 
an extensive earthwork, with heavy 

wall and great gateways can be distinguished from an ordinary 
camping place ; if the deposits of beautifully carved relics, such 
as pipes, highly wrought copper specimens, and pearl beads can 
be distinguished from the rude camp kettles, the occasional brass 
and silver brooch, the fragments of cloth and the debris of the 
camp, the permanent abode or house can be distinguished from 
a rude wigwam, the Mound-builders' cultus can be separated 
from the Indian, even when the villages were in the same locality. 

Any one who reads the descriptions of Indian wars, especially 

«See Chap. II, p. 17-18; Chap. VI, p. 89, American Geologist, article by S. D. Peet, 
on The Flood Plain, p. 264. 

t The cuts given in Figs. 1 and 2 are taken Irom Atwater's book, which was the 
flrst one published upon the Mound-builders. They represent the two villages form- 
erly situated on Paint Creek, five miles apart, with a fort between them, located at 
Bouroeville. The same villages can be seen in the map. These villages were some- 
what remarkable. The one at A had an encloscre which contamed / / acres, m the 
center of which was an elliptical mound, 240x100 feet, and :W feet high, surrounded 
by a low embankment and covered with a pavement ot pebbles. There was a cres- 
cent near this mound, set around the edges with stone, and a number of we Is were 
inside and outside the enclosure. The circle contains 1, acres; within it was a 
smaller circle, which probably marked the site of the estula. Here we have pro- 
visions for religious ceremonies as well as residence and delense. The other village 
(B) contained no elliptical mounds, but there was within it a Pond lo feet deep and 
39 feet across, which is fed by a rivulet flowing from the high land through the walls 
and furnished tlie village with water supply. 



those conducted by Gen. 5t. Clair, Anthony Wayne, Gen. George 
Washington, Gen. Braddock, can realize that the villages which 
were so easily destroyed by the invading whites, and which were 
frequently transported by command of the Indian chiefs, were 
but temporary camps, and in great contrast to the Mound-build- 
ers' villages. The battlefields have been located, but not one of 
them is marked by any earthworks, such as the ancient races 
were accustomed to erect. The villages which were attacked 

were clusters of tempor- 
ary wigwams, some of 
them without even the 
protection of a palisade. 
They were so easily de- 
stroyed that a single fire 
would sweep them frcm 
off the face of the earth, 
and, in a few years, not 
a trace of them was left. 
Even in the localities 
where, according to the 
early maps, Indian vil- 
lages once stood, the 
explorer will seek in 
vain for any vestige by 
which he can identify 
the site. If he takes the 
names of distinguished 
chiefs, such as King Phil- 
lip, Pontiac, Tecumseh 
and Black Hawk, and 
seeks for their homes he 
will find no sign of them. 
The villages of Black 

Fn,. :^.-iiloclcaae Village near GranvUle, Ohio* ^di^k and Kcokuk WCrC 

situated on the DesMoines River, near Eldon, but not a sign 
of them remains; even the graves of these Indian warriors have 
been despoiled and their bones destroyed. 

There was formerly an Indian village on the Ohio, opposite 
the mouth o^ the Scioto. It was, however, located on the banks, 
below the terrace on which were the villages of the ancient 
Mound-builders. The contrast between the two villages — the 
ancient and the modern — can be seen here. Here we see 

ui.hik «ii*fiviut. 


• The stockades represented in Figs, 'i and 4 are such as are very common in Ohio 
and Kentucky and many of the western States. They are not known to have been 
built by any Indian tribe, but may have marked the intervening period between 
the Mound-builders' age and that of the modern Indian. They show the difference 
between the cult of the early Mound-builders and that of the later race. One of 
these was situated near Granville, and in sight of the alligator or opossum mound, 
about five miles from the works at Newark. It has an area of 18 acres. The ditch is 
outside of the wall. Inside the wall is a small circle, 100 feet in diameter. In the 
circle are two mounds, both of which contain altars. 


heavy walls en the high terrace, fifty feet above the bank where 
the modern village was located, the oval enclosure isolated on a 
spur, and the covered ways extending for eight miles or more, 
with the bastions, gateways, circles, and burial mounds all con- 
nected by a ferry with the walls, circles, mounds, on the summit 
of the hill opposite, and these again by another ferry with the 
walls, concentric circles and temple mounds, several miles away, 
the length of the walls being twenty-two miles. On the other 
hand, the Indian village is so insignificant that a single flood over- 
flowed its site and swept away all vestige of the encampment, 
taking the houses of the few white settlers, which had been built 
upon the same spot, so that now nothing is left to reveal either of 
the later periods of occupation* All signs of the Indian village 
and early settlement of the white man have disappeared, but the 
works of the Mound-builders remain, notwithstanding the growth 
of a modern city on the spot, 

2. It has been maintained by some that the stockade was pecu- 
liar to the northern 

Indian, the earthwork 
to the southern'Indian 
and that this consti- 
tuted the only differ- 
ence between the vil- 
lages, but the fact is 
the stockade was as 
common at the south 
as at the north, and 
in both sections there 
are earthworks which 
were built by an ear- 
lier race. Beauchamp 
has shown this to be 
the case in the state of 
New York, He main 
tains that there was a 

period of time when villages were surrounded by earth-works, 
but at a subsequent period the timbered palisade took their 
place.t The stockades of the Iroquois tribes were more endur- 
ing than the temporary villages of the Algonkins, but these have 
so far disappeared that it is difficult to locate their villages. On 
the other hand, the villages of the Mound-builders, who preceded 
the Iroquois, are identified by earth-works which still remam. 
Sir William Dawson has also shown that the villages of the 
earlier races were attended with a class of relics which nidicated 
a cultus peculiar to the age and the people.^ 

The antiquity of the first race can be j udged from the fact that a 


f:. .(t* 

-- .,.,,-- 


■ ' j^ 




f^ U.Adlli 



".--^^ -iT,_ 



[1 J"" — -. " 




Pig, U— Stockade Village in Ohio. 

* See map, p. 253. 1 See Amer. Antiquarian. iSee Fossil Man. 



nest of copper relics, consisting of socketed spears and spades 
of the Wisconsin stamp, was found while digging the St. Law- 
rence canal, on the banks of the St. Lawrence River, some fifteen 
feet below the surface. The antiquity of the Mound-builders' 
village in the State of Ohio can also be seen from the earth- 
works. The village near Dayton, Ohio, covered several miles 
of a level plain, but so long ago that the sweep of the waters of 
the Great Miami River in the time of flood has taken away a 
larger portion of the walls and yet that which remains extends 
beyond the modern village of Alexandersville, and takes in two 
stations on the railroad.* 

3. Village life impressed itself upon the soil everywhere. Even 
in the region where the hunter life was prevalent, this is every- 
where apparent. Here 
the villages were sur- 
rounded either by cir- 
cles of burial mounds 
or by animal effigies, 
or rude earth-works,t 
but there are also 
lookout mounds, and 
game drives, garden 
beds, and occasionally 
altar mounds, which 
indicate that certain 
clans occuoied the lo- 


calit}'. Game drives 
but are found in Illinois 
Mound-builders of this 




•uui« c» •tn9- J: S-jr^^'-:'^^.^'~ ■•'-'■ '^ ' 


■-■"•l-'f/ • 

^'-^^^rf*y^«^^^|^^ ^j^^^^S^SSSS^^r^ 

^"""^ y j 

--'-" 'ff "~i^^^-?^HK^^^^^^*^^ 


' ,, -^' 

*," ■ 

-^* -''iff'''- M ■ '- ^ - ~^" ~" --: ^ -" 


■ -- -"^-- ■". 

■■"-'"'. ■ C:^i, ' ^*^^*>^--:^^^"- '^''^^./ 

---"_ TP 


-C - I -'"■'" V ~— -A - ','-v ^~ ^ ■'-: 

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^•^.-rL ' r - ^L ----^- -— --'- — ^-' "— - 

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'-3V .j V^-jjt-'J AreV'tS Acrea. 

' M 


'-VAr 'p^.f^"^^'' : -.-T^^--^ff'K 

^jfTi. ■ 


"" --""m'S' r * - ' " Tf - ""■■ -■-■-•- ''--~'-'-'-^""'-^":-"^ 

i^r^ -- 


V - 

.' 'X'^fc!. - -J --J-. " -||^S^E^^^'*mBBP^^ 

_,/ - : 





%CM*. '■ t_~ - " - 1 /*"**. - -"^V*^ 


4oofi. u tlu luck. 

/ M'Briit 



^ff. 5 —Stockade Village in Ohio. 

are not confined to the state of Wisconsin 
and other states, showing that while the 
region were hunters, they dwelt in villages. 

It remained, however, for the agricultural races to build the 
most elaborate earth-works, as a defense to their villages. These 
were placed uniformly upon terraces overlooking the rivers, and 
abounded with covered ways, graded ways, lookout mounds, 
dance circles, burial places, all of which were guarded by earth- 

Walled villages were numerous in the middle district, on both 
sides of the Ohio River, but they did not all belong to the same 
class. In fact, four or five types of Mound-builders' villages have 
been discovered in this region, all of which may have been pre- 
historic. These were followed by the rude villages of the modern 
Indian races. The effort has been made to identify these modern 
Indians§ as the descendants of the earlier Mound-builders, but 

*See Antiquities of Tenn., by Gen. G. P. Thurston, p. 40. Jones' Aboriginal Re- 
mains, p. 115. 8ee map of works at Alexandersville. 

tSee William Dawson's Description of Hochelaga, p. ^0; Hubbard's Memorial 
Sketches of a Half Century, p 232; Peet's Kmblematic Mounds, p. 20S ; Smithsonian 
Report, Description ot Earth Walls on the Spoon River and Fox River, Illinois. 

I See Bartram's Travels. 

gSee Antiquities of Southern Indians, by C. C. Jones. 


the ver\' contrast between the two classes of villages, the earlier 
and later, refutes this. The Mound-builders may have changed 
their location, and the occupants of the villages of one district have 
established their villages in another dist'-ict, but if this was the 
case, those who migrated must have adopted another style of 
village architecture and manufactured a different class of relics, 
having dropped those to which the)- had been accustomed, for 
there are no two districts in which the same works or relics can 
be discovered. Relics, to be sure, are found in Iowa and Illinois 
which resemble those in Ohio, but there are no such earth-works. 
A few works are found in West Virginia and Kentucky which 

BKCiK cRiK, nxrvcnr, 


~. M>ltaiu\zA 

Fig. 6.— Sacred Enclonn-e in Kentucky* 

resemble the Ohio villages, but the relics are quite different. It 
appears that there was a period in which every district exhibited 
a Mound-builder's cultus, another period in which it disappeared 
or was lost. 

4. The loss of this cultus is one of the plainest facts in archaeology . 
We pass over the districts and study the works and relics which 
we ascribe to the earlier Mound-builders, but we find the people 
gone, and we fail to recognize or identify their cultus in any one of 
the modern tribes of Indians. In fact, the change of cultus has 
been so great in every district that we fail to reach any certainty 
in reference to the time of occupation or the people who built 
the villages. When we interrogate the Indians of any tribe, 
Iroquois. Algonkin, Dakota, Cherokee, Shawnee, we find their 
memory uncertain and their traditions indefinite.f 

*The works at Mt. sterling consist of an enclosure 100 feet square, an elliptical 
mound, 9 feet high, truncated and connected by a wall with a small conical mound, 
a circle with a ditch and square platform, and a hexagonal enclosure with a gateway 
to the east. These works exhibit an identity with those In Ohio and were probably 
symbolic or religious in their character. The proximity to the streams suggests a 
water cult. See Fig. 6. ^^ . . ^ e 

+ See Irving's Florida ; for Study of Skulls see report of Davenport Academy of 
Science, Lucian M. Carr's Antiquities of Tenn., p. 117; Agricultural Races, Jones 
Southern Indians, Eleventh report Peabody Museum, p. 384. 



The Shawnees have indeed been traced from one locality to 
another, for they were great wanderers, but the relics which have 
been found in the stone graves which are said to mark their 
route, are as different in different localities as if they were man- 
ufactured by entirely distinct races. The abandonment of their 
homes by these wandering tribes must have occurred long years 
ago, for otherwise we could not account for the change which 

has come upon them in their cultus 


icos^cowTr oaio. 

and art motives, 
the Cherokees, 

So with 
and the 

^"'--^fe-'w^v' ■ V"'-' ■■••■ -^'-X 

4m ft t« th«Ini3l.'. 

Mound-builders' Village and Covered Way. 

Muscogees and other tribes. 
Adair and Bartram tell us 
the Cherokees had a tradi- 
tion that the pyramids at 
the south were built by a 
preceding race; that they 
only occupied them as new 
comers after vanquishing 
the nations who inhabited 
them, and that the former 
possessors told the same 
story concerningthem; that 
they found the mounds 
when they took possession 
of the country. Mr. Jones 
says that "the works were 
subject to secondary uses. 
Temple mounds, originally 
designed for religious ob- 
jects, were by the Creeks 
and Cherokees converted 
into stockade forts and used 
as residences for their chiefs 
or for purposes of sepul 
ture." The tradition is 

that the incursion of wild tribes from the North drove off the 
Mound-builders from the middle districts, some of which intruded 
themselves upon the southern districts, and at a still earlier date 
these southern tribes supplanted a race of pyramid-builders. 
These traditions are confirmed by the study of the relics and 
works, all of which indicate that many changes took place in 
pre-Columbian times, the transposition of new populations hav- 
ing brought in a new cultus, with intervals of varying length, 
but the village life having continued through all the changes. 

* The enclosure called Dunlap's Works is situated on the third terrace above the 
Scioto. Tliere is a covered way 1240 feet long, with a lookout mound at tiie end 
which commands a view of the river valley, and a terraced mound or mound and 
circle not far from the covered way. On the fourth terrace is an outwork which may 
have served as a ra^e-course or a plare ol games. There was a gatewaj' and a graded 
path connecting it with the enclosure. Tne small circle is on the bank of the river, 
but there is no large circle connected with the works. 


5, We do not then misinterpret the evidence given by the earth- 
works, when we say that the confederacies of the Mound-builders, 
whether situated along the upper, middle or lower Mississippi, 
the Cumberland, St. Francis, or Ohio River, or in Florida or the 
Gulf States, must have long preceded that of the Indians,* and 
that the history of these villages was quite different from that of 
the modern tribes. We go back to the time of the first dis- 
covery and examine the picture of the villages presented by the 
historians of Ferdinand De Soto's expedition, and find that they 
were thoroughly equipped with the machinery of government 
and religion, and are to be, by this means, distinguished from 
the villages of the Atlantic coast and the New England States, 


FR*tlKll>*-CO. TeNNESSEt , . 


Stockade Fort in Tennessee. 

Stockade Fort in Ohio.-f 

where the stockade villages were prevalent, but the changes 
which came upon the Mound-building tribes, both North and 
South, broke up the early confederacies and in a measure obliter- 
ated fhe Mound-builders' cultus, so that we can, with no degree 
of propriety, use the term Indian when we would describe this 
earlier condition, even if we were convinced that the Mound- 
builders and the Indian were of the same stock. 

On this point there is great uncertainty, for the best authori- 
ties maintain that there were from two to four races in the 
Mound builders' territory. The pyramids at the South were 

♦Antiquities of Southern Indians, p. 126, by C C. Jones. 

t Tiie stone fort in Tennessee nnd the earth fort in Ohio (see cuts above) illustrate 
the cultus of two periods. The stone fort was upon an eminence. It contained t\v 
pyramids. Oae of these was occupied by two lookouts, twenty feet high. This fort 
is on the bank of Duck Creek, just above a waterfall, and is full of the evidence of a 
skillful work and of an advanced people. The earth-work marks the site of an or- 
dinary stockade village, located on the bluff, with the unfailing spring below. 


occupied by a people who resembled the Polynesians, but the 
stockades of the North by a people who were more like the 
Mongolians. Relics of the Mound-builders resemble those found 
in Great Britain and the north of Ireland, and even suggest the 
transmission of the same myths and symbols from the eastern to 
the western continent. Let us look at the facts. In Goodyear's 
book on the Grammar of the Lotus,* is a picture of the divinity of 
the Gauls. In this picture the divinity is crowned with the horns 
of the deer, exactly as the Mound-builders' chief, found in the 
depths of the mounds on the Hopewell farm in Southern Ohio, 
was crowned.f 

Mr. J. R. Nissley has described a pipe which combined the 
"cupstone" symbols, which are so common in Great Britain, with 
the serpent symbol. This pipe was in the form of a serpent, one 
cup mark in the head and another in the tail, the orifice between 
making the mouth-piece ; but on the base of the pipe were several 
cup marks, making the pipe doubly symbolic.^ 

The discovery of the Exeter vase of Nebraska, with its shal- 
low receptacle and its four sides carved with animal heads, and 
the discovery of the Toronto pipe, with its distorted face, pre- 
senting the symbol of the tree and serpent on its side, will lead 
us to the thought that there must have been a pre-Columbian 
contact with other countries. The progress of pre-historic 
archaeology is bringing out more and more the fact that there 
were great differences between the races. § 

The skulls of the southern Indians certainly differ from those 
of the northern Indians, even if the language was the same. It 
is easy for a people to change language, but constitutional traits 
continue through many generations. The Cherokees, Iroquois, 
Dakotas, may have belonged to the same stock, separated from 
one another in the Ohio valley at some remote time, but they 
differed from the Muscogees and southern tribes, and as to the 
Shawnees, it is acknowledged they belong to a different stock 
from either. These tacts should lead us to the habit of recog- 
nizing differences. If we are to take the traditions of the Indians 
into the account, we shall conclude that the southern Mound- 
builders came from the West, the northern Mound-builders from 
the East or Northeast. 

If we are to obliterate all distinctions and to class the Mound- 
builders' cult with the modern Indian, making out that the his- 
toric tribes properly represent the pre-historic conditions, we 
may as well give up our study of pre-historic archaeology, and 
for that matter the study of the science of sociology also, and 
say that there was no difference between a savage warrior and a 
settled agriculturist, or between the animal worshiper and the 

* See Grammar of the Lotus. 

+ «ee Ancient Monuments. 

X See American Antiquarian, Vol. XIV, No. 4. 

iJSee Thomas's History of Cherokees, 


sun worshiper, between the stockade-builder and the pyramid- 
builder. The term Indian has been applied to all classes and all 
grades and all districts, embracing the Eskimo fisherman, the 
Indian hunter, the southern agriculturist, Zuni, Pueblos, the 
civilized Aztec, the Maya, but it is not the general name that we 
need so much as the specific term, and so we prefer to classify 
the works of the Mississippi valley under the name which has 
already gone into use and to acknowledge that there was a 
Mound-builder's cultus. 

The theory that there was an American race which had only 
one language and one origin, and that this race occupied the 
entire continent and filled it with one type of mankind, has 
this evil tendency, it prevents us from drawing a distinction 
between the different languages, customs, symbols, and forestalls 
any inquiry as to previous migration or pre-historic contact 
with other races, but this theory is even worse, for it shuts our 
eyes to the distinction between the earlier and later conditions 
and puts everything on one dead level. We need a closer analysis 
and minute distinctions rather than these grand generalizations.* 

If there was a historic, a proto-historic and a pre-historic period 
on this continent, we want to know the differences in the cults 
rather than the resemblances. These differences are shown by 
the specimens of art and architecture that still remain, and we 
need to study these so as to assign them to the different periods 
and races. When we study the pre-historic works, we recognize 
the differences between them and ascribe these not only to the 
different modes of life and religious systems which were adopted 
by the races, but we also assign the different cults to the period 
and age to which they belong? 

It was this mistake which that eminent author. Mr. L. H. 
Morgan, t made while treating of American Sociology and which 
many of his disciples are making to this day. He took the 
cultus of the Iroquois, with which he was familiar, and made it a 
pattern for all the native tribes and races, reducing everything, 
civilized and uncivilized, to the same simple elements. The long 
house of the Iroquois served as a pattern to him for the houses 
of the Mound-builders, and seemed to prove that the same com- 
munistic state everywhere prevailed. He went so far as to 
reconstruct a Mound-builders' village after the same pattern, and 
placed the long houses on the summit of the walls, instead of 
inside the enclosure.]: He imagined that the Pueblos, of Arizona, 
served as a pattern for the cities of Mexico and Central America 
and called all the places of that region communistic houses. 

He maintained that the civilized races, were all of them, not 
only organized into clans, but were in the communistic state; 

*See Brinton's American Race. 

t See Morgan's Ancient Society. ^ , • 

iSee North American Review; see Morgan's Houses and House Life; see Lontri- 
toutions to Ethnol. Bureau, Vol. III. 


that their cities were nothing but Pueblos and their kings noth- 
ing but chiefs; that everything about them must be reduced to 
a piimitive state and run in the same mold which the Iroquois 

II. We are to notice the variety in the architecture of the tillages, 
especially when we are studying the village life of the Mound- 
builders and seek to recognize the differences between them and 
the other tribes or races. While we acknowledge that village 
life was universal in America, yet it differed according to locality, 
each race or tribe having impressed upon their villages their 
own ethnic states and customs. The tribes, to be sure, were 
composed of clans, and the clans were generally gathered into 
villages, each clan having a village by itself 

The clans or tribes might be organized into a confederacy, 
the land belong to the confederacy, but it was divided and held 
by the clans and could not be alienated except by consent ot the 
clans when assembled together. There was no such thing as 
property in severalty or landed property. Sometimes there was 
the removal of a nation by reason of defeats and oppressions, but 
the conquered tribes, when they felt that their territory had been 
invaded and could not be held against their enemies, generally 
moved as a body. Their tribal organization was stronger than 
their attachment to their lands. The graves of their fathers were 
precious to them, but they would rather leave these than to have 
their tribe broken up. The element of religion came in. Ances- 
tral worship prevailed among many of the tribes and thus threw 
an air of sacredness over the abodes of their ancestors and made 
their villages permanent. The graves were near the villages 
and the precious remams were under the care of the villagers as 
such. It was like tearing up everything that was precious to 
them when they were forced to move. It was for this reason 
that the village clans remained so long in their territory and 
defended themselves by such novel methods. It was for this 
reason also that the same clans, when they changed from 
one district to another, became so thoroughly disorganized. 
Having been driven from their original territory, in which their 
clan life had found such embodiment, they seemed to have 
adopted the customs and habits of the people into whose terri- 
tory they migrated, making the old village sites their abodes, 
changing the old works into new uses. This question, as to 
what became of the Mound-builders of any one district, is per- 
haps to be answered in the same way. The Mound-builders 
were evidently as tenacious of their homes as the Cliff-dwellers, 
but there were tribes and confederacies which had long occupied 
certain regions and had reached a high stage of advancement 
and in the course of time had constructed a most elaborate sys- 
tem of works. These were driven off by the invading hosts of 
savage hunters and never again reconstructed their villages or 


their homes. The change which must have come upon the 
country is exhibited as much by the different style of architecture 
which they adopted as by anything else. 

The Indian villages on the Atlantic coast and in the state of 
New York seem to have been more permanent than those on the 
western prairies. They were frequently surrounded by stockades 
and were connected with one another by trails. The Indian villages 
of Virginia have been described by early discoverers. The 
village of Pomeiock was pictured by the painter Wyeth. From 
this we learn the arrangement of the village. We see the fields 
of corn, fields of tobacco, garden full of melons, forests full of 
deer, a pond in the back-ground; a broad roadway passes 
through the village; on one side are the houses of the chief, the 
houses for the preservation of the dead, and houses for the fami- 
lies ; on the other side the dance circle, the feast tables, and the 
mourning places. The houses in the village are rectangular, 
with curved roofs, and resemble the houses of the Iroquois. 

The picture of the village of the southern Indians represent 
the houses as circular, the roofs dome-shaped, with the stockade 
surrounding them. There is, however, no earth-work in either 
of these pictures. The villages were just such as were occupied 
by the later tribes when they were in a settled condition. These 
Indians, to be sure, might have possibly built earth-works at one 
time and abandoned the habit, but if so it must have been before 
the discovery. The natural supposition is that they were a 
different class of people, who came in after the Mound-builders. 
We divide the Mound-builders' villages into several classes, 
which differ according to their location, both in their method of 
defense, their general arrangement, style of architecture, class of 
relics which they contain, and the mode of life which they 
exhibit. Those of the effigy mounds being in one class, the 
"burial mounds" in another, and military works in another, 
sacred enclosures in another. The most remarkable of these 
are in Ohio, for they show that village life had reached a high 
stage. The villages of Arkansas are also to be mentioned. 
These were filled with lodge circles, and in these were large 
pyramidal or dormiciliary mounds and occasionally a lookout 
monnd. These resembled the Ohio villages, in that they were 
square enclosures, but they had no such elaborate gateways, and 
no such watch-towers within the gateways, and no concentric 
circles or combination of circles and squares, and no adjoining 
enclosures which contained altars or burial mounds; they were 
plain village enclosures, in which all the purposes of village life 
were carried out and only a single wall surrounding the whole, 
the defense being given by this wall and a stockade placed upon 
the summit. They resembled the villages of the stone grave 
people of Tennessee, in that they contained many graves within 
the enclosure, as well as lodge circles and pyramids. These 


may be called the villages of the pottery- makers, for large quan- 
tities of pottery have been found in the enclosures. Entire 
mounds of large size have been opened and found full of nothing 
but pottery. The villages of the Gulf States were peculiar. 
These, for the most part, were destitute of any circumvallation. 
In its place, however, is to be found a large moat, which served 
all the purposes of a moat around a feudal castle, the defense 
of the village having been formed by a palisade of timbers, with 
gateways and, perhaps, draw-bridges. 

The chief peculiarity of these villages is that there are so 
many pyramids grouped around a central area, with the abrupt 
sides turned toward the moat o* fish-ponds, but the sides on 
which approaches and graded ways and terraces are to be seen 
are directed toward the central area. The villages of the eastern 
district of the Gulf States are also marked with pyramids, but 
they are generally pyramids placed in pairs — one of them being 
rectangular, with terraced sides and graded ways for approaches; 
the other oval or conical, with its summit truncated, and a spiral 
pathway leading to the summit. In these villages was a chunky 
yard, also a distinctive/eature; the rotunda, having been elevated 
on the summit of the cone, was placed at one end of the yard, 
the pyramid, with the chief's house on its summit, was located 
at the other end of the yard. The area within the yard was 
used as the public square or campus, the dance ground or 
the place for the trying of captives. Descriptions have been 
written by various travelers, such as Adair and Bartram, who 
visited these villages when they were occupied by the Cherokees, 
so we that know exactly the use to which each part of the village 
was applied. Descriptions given by the Portuguese traveler, the 
historian of De Soto's expedition, reveal to us also the use which 
was made of the pyramids in the western district by such tribes 
as dwelt there at the time. 

The Tennessee villages were furnished with more conveni- 
ences and show better provisions for defense, for subsistence 
and for the carrying out of all the purposes and customs con- 
nected with village life, but they were, after all, arranged after 
the same general plan and show the same clan organization. The 
bouses were generally arranged around a public square, within 
which the people assembled, making it a common campus. The 
temples, council houses, dance grounds and burial grounds they 
placed separatelyby themselves, making them somewhat exclusive 
and more sacred than their private houses. There were in all 
the villages provisions for the different classes — governmental 
and common — and conveniences for religious ceremonies, popu- 
lar assembles, festivals and amusements, and for burials. 

In the ancient villages of Ohio, there seems to have been 
a separate enclosure for each of the classes and for each especial 
purpose. The clan elders had their houses inside of the square 


enclosure and the people had their lodges inside of the large 
circle; but tne religious houses or round houses were located in 
a small circle adjoining the two, the burial places and dance 
grounds being placed in enclosures by themselves. Some of 
these .villages in Ohio present evidence that there was a sacrificial 

• UTLtn' COUNTY fflO 

(unlet S.V. »rtu 


Surrfjeei by Jar M^ SfteU /fiS 

TIateatat Goi*0ny. 

4«» ft u thY hell . 

Fig. 10.— A Mound-builders' Fort.* 

place in the midst of the large enclosure, and human sacrifices 
were offered to the sun. 

This thought that the Mound-builders had reached a stage 
where the different classes were recognized and where conven- 
iences were provided for them is worthy of notice, for in this 
consists one great difference between the ages. It matters not 

*Tbe works represented by this cut and the one on page 138 are situated in Butler 
County, Ohio The difference between the walled villages and the forts will be seen 
from the cuts. 


what stock or race was represented by the villages, yet the fact 
that there are earth-works which were occupied by the different 
classes shows that the cultus was entirely different from that of 
savagery. Savages may indeed have had chiefs and clan elders 
and priests or medicine men, but their villages were rarely built 
to accommodate these different classes.* The fact that there 
were different kinds of villages in the same territory is then im- 
portant in this connection. It appears also that at one period 
there were tribal capitals or central villages, and perhaps places 
of tribal assembly for the observance of religious ceremonies, as 
well as clan villages.f 

The proximity of villages to one another and their location 
along the valleys of the streams show that the tribal system pre- 
vailed, and that the tribes took the rivers for their habitats, the 
villages being the abodes of the clans. The discovery of the 
central villages and works peculiar to themselves proves also that 
there were confederacies which combined the tribes. These filled 
the districts with the works devoted to defense, government and 
religion, as well as domestic life, and so gave great variety to 
the earth-works. 

The defense of the village varied according to the locality. In 
some places it was secured by placing a heavy earth wall around 
the entire village; in others by placing the villages in the midst 
of isolated tongues of land, making the position a source of 
safety ; in others the pyramids were erected, their abrupt sides 
forming a barrier against approach, while the terraced sides and 
graded way furnished easy access to the people who might de- 
sire to resort to their summits in time of danger. The groups 
of pyramids were sometimes surrounded by moats, which served 
as fish-ponds in times of peace but barriers in times of war, re- 
sembling in this respect the feudal castles. There were a few 
villages that were destitute of circumvallation, though these 
were perhaps at one time surrounded by timber palisades or by 
stone and earth walls, which have disappeared. The size of the 
enclosures varied according to the population they were designed 
to accommodate. They varied from twenty-five to two hundred 
acres. In some casesj there were several adjoining enclosures, so 
that the village would be divided into two or three parts, the 
entire circumvallation extending several miles, including one or 
two hundred acres, and in other cases§ there was a single enclo- 
sure, everything being included in that. 

Burial mounds are generally connected with villages. These 
vary also according to the district. Those in the prairie re- 
gion form one class, those in Ohio another class, and those 
in the Gulf States still another class, recent explorations show- 

*Mr. Thru.ston thinks there was a division of labor, and refers to the trowels dis- 
covered among the stone graves as proof that the plasterers' trade was followed. 

tAztlan, Marietta and Portsmouth were capitals; NeM'ark, OirclevlUe and many 
other places were clan villages. Jin Ohio. gin Indiana. 

- '-• «■* a 


(Four Dules north of ChiUicofiie J 

" FimM,Ar«kU Latti. 

i.,^ ^aSc ■■:: *» Q <j 'J ,3 

-?^...»'?,. r» i} » '.xi * * 

.„l.t= , ... ■ • ■» 


The wnrks at Hoppton, High Banks and Cedar Banks represent the character nl 
the ancient Mound-builders' village.s|and the contrast withlthe villages ol the huer 
Indians. Those at Hopeion are on the third terrace, just below a*i elevated plain; 
the rectangle measures 950 by 900, the circle 1,050 feet, twelve gateways, measure 2-d 
feet in width. The two circles measure 200 and 2.50 feet ; one covers a gateway, ttie 
other cuts into the square. The walks of the rectangle were 12 feet high and 50 feet 
nase. Two parallel walls extend toward the river, 2,400 feet in length, 150 feet apart. 
They terminated at the foot of the terrace, where the river once ran through, and 
a fertile bottom now intervenes. This covered way may have connected the village 
ot Hopeton w th Mmind (Mtv, which is .just opposte, and suggests the religious cer- 
emony of crossing tlie river with their dead, similar to that of the Egyptians. 



The Cedar Bank work is a square enclosure, and is but half a mile from Hoppton 
Between the two were the large truncated mound aad circle, giving the idea that 
these were the sites of teraple« where i he villagers worshipped. The works at His?li 
Bank illustrate the same point. They consist of one octagon 950 feet in diameter, 
a circle 1,050 feet, and two small circles 250 leet: the walls were formerly 12 feet hii<h 
and 50 feet at ba-H. A large iruticaled mound 30 feet high was formerly on the 
terrace, one-<|uarter of a mile awav. A covered way connects the village with ihe 
circle on the bank of the river. Tbe age of W\\<^ vi lage is here shown. The river 
formerly flowed near the bank and cut away the terrace and a part of the circle, 
leaving the hank 80 leet hiirh. but now Hows at a distance. An Indian town was 
situated a short dis'auce below this point and an Indian burial place on the brow of 
the hill, the two contrasting strangely with the ancient worljs of the Mound-builders. 


ing that many of the large mounds, both pyramids and pyrami- 
dal and conical, were used for burial purposes. Altars have 
been found in some of them. 

III. We now turn to a comparison of the village enclosures. 
This comparison might lead us to consider the villages of all 
the modern Indians. We shall, however, confine ourselves 
mainly to the enclosures of Ohio, for these seem to be the most 
complete specimens of village enclosures to be found anywhere 
among the uncivilized races. We find in them the elements 
which go to make up village architecture everywhere. The fol- 
lowing are the elements given by the Ohio earth-works: i, the 
circumvallation ; 2. the lodge circle, including the estufas; 3, the 
temple platform ; 4, the observatory or watch tower; 5, the cov- 
ered ways, including the protected landing, or graded way ; 6, the 
sacrificial place or sacred burial enclosure; 7, the fortifications ; 
8, the lookout mounds. 

We now take up the description of the villages. 

I. It should be noticed, that the villages of the different dis- 
tricts all had circumvallations which were very marked. The 
villages of the emblematic mound-builders had effigies near 
them, those of the tomb builders had circles of burial mounds 
about them, those of the pyramid-builders had pyramids around 
them, and those of the lodge-builders had walls on the outside 
and lodge circles inside, to charactize them. In like manner the 
defenses of the serpent worshipers had the serpent effigy to char- 
acterize them, and the villages of the sun worshipers had the 
circle, crescent, horse-shoe, and other symbols to characterize 
them, each district containing a different religious system and a 
different class of works which embodied it. 

There is this difference, between the villages of Ohio and 
those found elsewhere. The villages here were always char- 
acterized by a double or a triple enclosure, one of them being 
a square and the other a circle or a cluster of circles. That a^ 
Newark contains five enclosures and three sets of parallel walls, 
with an effigy in one of the enclosures and many small circles 
scattered around among the covered ways. 

The most remarkable of all the village sites are perhaps those 
at Hopeton, Newark, Circleville, Highbank, and ^Twinsburg. 
That at Hopeton is the most beautiful, where there is a square 
and circle, and two or three smaller circles joining the squares 
on the outside. There are lound on the third bottom. They 
consist ot a rectangle with an attached circle. The rectangle 
measures 950 by 900 feet. The circle is 1050 feet in diameter. 
The gateways are twelve in number, and have an average width 
of about 25 feet. On the east side are two circles, measuring 
200 and 250 feet, the gateways or opening to the circles cor- 
responding to the gateways in the square. The walls of the 
larger work are 12 feet high, 50 f^et wide at the base. ^'They 


resemble the heavy grading of a railway, and are broad enough 
on the top to admit the passage of a coach." It is probable 
that on the summit of these walls there was a timber palisade 
resembling those at Circleville, or possibly like those described 
by Dr. William Dawson as Hochelega. There are no ditches 
outside the wall, but a ditch inside that of the smaller circles. 
This characteristic of the Ohio villaiies has never been ex- 
plained. It was probably owing to a peculiar social organiza- 
tion, but that organization is now unknown, and we are left only 
to conjecture as to what it was. The square may have been 
used for the governing class, very much as the truncated pyra- 
mids at the south were. The large circular enclosure may have 
contained the lodges of the common people, the village proper. 
The small circles mav have been the sweat houses or assembly 
places for the villagers. lu the cases where there are three 
enclosures, the third, which was a circle, may have been used 
by the priestly class, if we may suppose that there was such a 

2. We have said that the enclosures were used as clan residences. 
These residences were in villages. Wherever there was a clan there 
was a village, and what is more the x'illages were not built by 
individuals or by families, but were built by the clan. We are 
uncertain what kind of houses they were. They may have been 
frail temporary structures built of poles, covered with skins, 
bark or dirt, similar to those of the Mandans. They may have 
been circular lodges, such lodges as have left their rings in many 
places in the south and west. 1 hey may have been long houses. 
however, built after the model of the Iroquois long house. There 
may have been a difference between them, some of them being 
mere circular lodges or tents, others square or rectangular build- 
ings, resembling those built by the southern tribes — Choctaws, 
Chickasaws and Creeks. The sweat houses or estufas, or assem- 
bly places, may have been circular buildings, resembling the 
rotundas of the Cherokees, while the house of the chiefs may 
have been square, or rectangular, similar to those which were 
erected on the summit of the platforms or pyramids of the (julf 
States, There are lodge circles or rings with fire-beds in 
Ohio, such as have been found in Tennessee and Missouri, and 
in some casos in Iowa. These lodge rings, however, arc sugges- 
tive, for they show what might have been the arrangement of the 
houses among the Ohio mound-builders. These rings were 
generally placed in lines around the outside of a central square, 
or plaza, as the Spaniards call it. Somewhere in the enclosure 
there would be a high mound which was used as a lookout. This 
would be near the edge of the village. 

3. In the center of most of these villages there is a platform or 
truncated pyramid, which is supposed to have been the place 
wher^ iJbe chiefs had their houses. This is the uniform arrange- 


ment of the villages, as they are found in the mountain district 
of Tennessee and in the cypress swamps of Arkansas and Mis- 
souri. The arrangement of the Ohio villages may have been 
the same, at least there are platforms, elliptical or circular in 
shape, which are situated in the center, showing that a public 
buildingof some kind was in the midst of the enclosure. 

4. The parallel walls form another peculiar feature of the 
villages of Ohio. These generally extend from the enclosures 
to the river's bank, but sometimes extend from one enclosure to 
another. They were probabl}' intended to protect the people 
as they went to and from the villages. The works at Newark 
illustrate this point. (See the Plate.) These works are inter- 
esting. They are situated in the midst of a fertile plain, which is 
surrounded by high hills on all sides, one hill being especially 
prominent, the hill on which the alligator mound is situated. 
The works are very extensive. They cover in extent about 
two miles square, and consist of three grand divisions, which 
are connected by parallel walls. The most prominent is the 
circular structure, which is called the old fort. The area of 
this structure is something over thirty acres. In the center of 
it is the mound of singular shape, which is called the bird; the 
head of the bird pointed directly toward the entrance of the 
enclosure. This so-called bird originally contained an altar. 
It seemed to point out a religious design to the whole structure, 
and yet it may have been only a central object in the midst of a 
village, an object which would show that the villagers were 
peculiarly superstitious The gateway of this fort, so-called, is 
very imposing. The walls are not less than 16 feet in height, 
and a ditch within is 13 feet deep, giving an entire height of 
about 30 feet. "In entering the ancient avenue for the first time 
the visitor does not fail to experience a sensation of awe, such 
as he might feel in passing the portals of an Egyptian temple." 
Such is the testimony of the author of "Ancient Monuments," 
but the writer can bear witness that the same impression was 
made upon himself when entering it for the first time. The 
circle is nearly a true circle, its diameter being 1189 by 1163 
feet. The circle is united with a square by parallel walls, which 
form a wide covered way. There is between the square and 
the creek or river another large enclosure, which is partiallv 
surrounded by walls, and which has a complicated system of 
covered ways connected with it. This seems to have been the 
central spot for the two villages which were located here. It 
may have been a place of assembly, a dance ground or a feast 
place. There is a single circle within it, a number of conical 
mounds, and a graded way which leads from it to the edge of 
the terrace, situated south of it. This graded way is a peculiar 
work, but is similar to those found at Piketon and Marietta. The 
chief peculiarity of the work is that there are parallel walls; 
two of these, which are upwards of a mile in length, extend 


from the works just described to the octagon situated west or 
northwest of the old fort or great circle. These parallel lines 
were probably covered ways, one of which connected the vil- 
lage enctosures with one another, the other connecting the west 
enclosure or octagon with the bottom land and river's edge, 
though the two covered ways are nearly parallel. There is a 
third line, which extends from the octagon southward for nearly 
two miles This covered way loses itself in the plain. It may 
have been designed to protect the villagers as they went to and 
from the fields. 

In the center of the works, nearly surrounded by the covered 
ways, is a large pond, which may have served as a reservoir of 
water fot both villages, as access could be gained to it through 
the openings in the walls from either side. There are small 
circles scattered around among the works. These may have 
been the estufas or sweat houses, as they all have the same 
general appearance and dimensions. The chief feature of the 
work is the octagon and small circle.* The octagon has eight 
gateways, each gateway being guarded by an elliptical mound 
or truncated pyramid, 5 feet high, 80 by 100 feet at base. The 
circle connected with the octagon is a true circle 2080 feet 
— upwards of half a mile — in circumference. It has on the 
southwest side what was probably once a gateway, but it seems 
to have been abandoned and an observatory built in its stead. 
See Fig. 7. 

5. The watch towers and observatory mounds are also to 
be noticed. The observatory at Newark is very imposing. It 
is 170 feet long, is 8 feet higher than the general embankment, 
overlooks the entire work, and may have been used as a look- 
out station to protect the fields adjoining. A number of small 
circles, which are called watch towers by Atwater, are found 
connected with the works, and are chiefly embraced in the area 
between the parallel walls. 

In reference to the works at Newark in its different parts, 
Messrs. Squier and Davis say: "Several extraordinary coinci- 
dences are exhibited between them and the works situated else- 
where. The smaller circle is identical in size with that belonging 
to the Hopeton works and that at Highbank, which are situated 
seventv miles distant. The square has the same areas as the 
square' at Hopeton and the octagon at Highbank. The octa- 
gon has the same area as the square at Marietta. There are 
mounds inside of the gateway the same as found in other places. 
The observatory here corresponds to the large observatory at 
Marietta, though that is somewhat higher. The small circles, 
which we call estufas, are of the same general character and 

*Each has a diameter of about 200 feet, has a ditch interior to the walls, and ele- 
vated embanl< men ts in the shape of crescents inteiior to the ditch. This is the 
common form with all of the small circles which are so numerous in connection 
with the villaKe sites. 



dimensions as those found at Hopeton, at Ilicrhbank, at the 
junction f^roup, and at Chillicothe. The resemblances between 
the vihaijeat Newark and those found elsewhere in this district 
are, we think, quite significant. We find in many of the 
other works, especially those on Paint Creek and in the Scioto 
Valley, that there are three enclosures, two of them beinj^ a 
circle and square, and a third beinjr irrej^ular in form, but j^en- 
erally larger than either the circle or square. This larger en- 
closure sometimes intervenes, between the circle aud the square 
and sometimes it is situated at the side of eacli, making a tri- 

J''i<l. I. — OOscndlitri/ (It ?i'(if(ir/i\ 

angle with them. It is probable that the same use was made 
of this large enclosures in the other localities that was made of 
the large enclosure at Newark, the only difTerence being that 
connected with the circle and square, it constituted one village, 
but in this case it served for the two vilages, the connection 
between them being secured by the parallel wall.''^' 

6. We turn to ihe description of the graded ways. These are 
very interesting works, but confirm what we have said about 
village sites. There is a graded way at Newark, another at 
Pikeion, another at Marietta, and another is said to be situated 
at Piqua. They all have the same general characteristics. They 

*The reader will see this plainly by examining the plates in the Ancient Monu- 
ments. Seo Highbcanlv works, Plate XVf, works on Liberty Townsliip, Plate XY, 
works on Paint Creek, Plate XX I, 1 and 2, and works on the Scioto near Chi'licothe, 
and on the north fork of Painl Creek, at (Jld Cliillicothe, Plate XXI, Nos. .i, 4. See 
works at Hopeton, XVI I, also works in the Scioto Valley, Plate 1 1, also at Black water 
irronp, XXII, No. 2. Clai ke's Workn contains the square and Ihe circle, but the cir- 
cle is mside of tlie large enclosure, which is very nuicli larger than the ordinary 
square, being2S0U by ISOO feet, and contains an ariM '>f 111 acres, instead of .50. 



run from the terrace on which the villacre enclosure was situ- 
ated down to the bottom lands. The bottom lands are now 
dry, but it is probable that at the time the works were built 
they constituted the river bed. The object of the graded way 
was undoubted to secure a landing places lor canoes. The 
rivers of Southern Ohio are still subject to floods. They were 
probably severer in prehistoric times. The walls on either side 
of the graded way would serve a double purpose; they would 
protect the villagers as they went to the water's edge, and would 
also keep the canoes from being carried away by the sudden 
rise of the water. The graded way at Newark has a tongue 
of land which extends beyond the walls. This may have served 

Fiij. S — Graded W HI (d I'.keloii, 

as a sort of landing place or quasi wharf. Owl Creek, a small 
stream, flows south of this work. The elevated grade was ex- 
tended out to the water in this creek. In the case of the graded 
way at Piketon and at Newark the incline begins at the bottom 
land and rises by a gradual ascent to the summit of the terrace. 
The breadth between the walls at Piketon is 215 feet at one 
end and 203 at the other, but the way is 1080 feet long; the rise 
is 17 feet. See F\q. 8. The height of the wall, measured from 
the lower extremity of the grade, is no less than 22 feet, but 
measured from the common surface varies from 11 feet at the 
brink to 5 feet at the upper terrace The ascent is very grad- 
ual. At the upper extremity of the grade there is a wall which 
runs 2580 feet toward a group of mounds, which at present are 
enclosed in a cemetery. There is also another mound 30 feet 
high about 40 rods away. The object of this graded way is 
unknown, but judging from its similarity to other graded w'ays 
in the same state, we conclude that there was a village site on 


the upper terrace, though there are no walls perceptible there. 
The graded way at Marietta is also very interesting. This has 
alread}' been described. A distance of several hundred feet 
intervenes between the end ot the graded wa}- and the bank of 
the river, which is here 35 or 40 feet in height. It has been 
conjectuted that the river flowed immediateh' at the foot of the 
way at the time of its construction. If so, it would prove the 
antiquity of the works to be ver}' great. Graded ways similar 
to these in Ohio are found in Georgia in connection with the 
high conical mounds, but they generalh' lead to ponds, and may 
have been used for a dilTerent purpose. 

7. In reference to the association of the fortifications with the 
villages and the sacred enclosures, a few words will be appropri- 
ate. It is explained by the peculiarities of clan life. It appears 
that among all uncivilized races the clan was the unit. The family 
was nothing when compared with the clan. In fact, the clan 
seemed to be more important than the tribe. It was much more 
important than the nation, if the nation existed. It is probable 
that the communistic system prevailed in most of the clans. 
Subsistence was secured by members of the clan. The burials 
may have been in clans, or by a number of clans uniting together. 
The so-called altar mounds were probably the places where 
several clans were brought together and presented their offerings 
and made their burials. The fortifications were also places 
where the clans c;nue togeter for common defense. 

Many of these hill forts are situated in the midst of village en- 
closures. One of them, that at Bourneville, has been frequently 
described. It is very large, containing 140 acres, being situated 
in the midst of the villages on Paint Creek. The Ancient Fort 
and that at Hamilton, on the Great Miami, were also large. These 
were situated not far from other village enclosures. The fortified 
hill called "Fort Hill," in Highland County, is not very far from 
villaees, beincr but thirtv miles from Chillicothc. The fortified 
hill near Granville is near the works at Newark, but it was prob- 
ably built by a later race, as it differs very materially from the 
works at Newark. The ancient works on Massey's Creek, in 
Greene County, may have been erected by the typical mound- 
builders of the district, but of the works at the mouth of the 
Miami, on the Great Miami, in Butler County and Hamilton 
County, there is some uncertainty. Some of them may have 
belonged to the typical mound-builders, but others may have 
been built by an earlier or a later race. 

This is also the use which was made of Fort Ancient. A part 
of this had been built by a race of effigy-builders, the same race 
who built the great serpent and made it the great center of ser- 
pent worshio. A part of it. however, was probably built by the 
same people who erected the village enclosures, who were sun 
worshipers. There are some reasons for believing that the ser 


pent worshipers migrated from this part of Ohio and afterwards 
became the effigy-builders of Wisconsin, as there are many ser- 
pent effigies scattered along the bluffs of the Mississippi River, 
the route which they are supposed to have taken in their migra- 
tion. The sun worshipers may possibly have been the same 
people, and yet the probability is that they migrated southward 
and became the pyramid-builders of the Southern States, em- 
bodying that worship in the pyramid as they had here in the 
circles and crescents. 

8. The connection of the village enclosures with the lookout 
mounds is our last point. These lookout mounds may have 
been used by all of the different tribes or races which oc- 
cupied the district, but it is plain that they were also used by the 
people of the village enclosures. Squier and Davis speak of 
the lookout on the top of the hill above Chillicothe, the lookout 
which commands a view of the whole district in which the vil- 
lages were situated. The writer has visited the great mound at 
Miamisburg, and found that it commanded a view of the valley 
in which were the works at Alexandersville, and at the same time 
was connected with others which reached as far as Fort Ancient. 
One peculiarity about this mound was noticed. At a certain 
height on the side of the mound the view extended over the 
valley where were the various earthworks, but it was limited by 
surrounding hills or headlands. The summit, however, gave a 
view of other hills beyond these, and the writer was convinced 
that It was raised to this height in order that signals might be 
exchanged between those who were living in the Miami valley 
and those who were living in the valley west of it, thus showing 
that the White River and the Miami River were included in one 
district. Rev. T. J. McLean has also studied out the signal 
stations and made a complete net-work of them throughout 
Butler and Hamilton Counties, Whether this .system of signal 
stations extended beyond the district which we are now describ- 
ing we are unable to say, but we have no doubt that the signal 
stations were used by the village people who erected the typical 
earth works of Southern Ohio. Grave Creek mound may have 
been one of the signai stations, an outwork which was farthest 
to the east. The high conical mound at Marietta was another. 
The high conical mound at Circleville reached the height of 
ninety feet; this is another of the signal stations which were used 
by the village Indians. 




We now take up the subject of the races. It was once the 
opinion that there were different races on this continent, some 
of them were identical with the races known to history, and the 
mounds were supposed to furnish evidence of this. The par- 
ticular race which built the mounds was not known but the 
most popular theory was that they were either Phoenicians or 
were the members of the lost tribes of Israel. Whole books 
were written to prove this theory, one of them by the celebrat- 
ed Adair, who was an Indian agent, and had an abundant op- 
portunity to know about the Indians of the Gulf States. The 
great work of Lord Kingsborough, on which he spent his for 
tune, and which resulted in his financial ruin, and imprison- 
ment for debt, was marred by a similar theory. Opposite to this 
theor>-, is the position which is taken by the members 
of the Bureau of Ethnology at Washington, which is, to the ef- 
fect, that all the tribes in America belong to one race, which, 
should be called the Amerinds, a barbarous word coined out 
of two other words, viz: American Indians. This opinion, how- 
ever, is not accepted by all ; in fact, many of those who have had 
the best opportunities to know, take the ground that the conti- 
nent was settled by different stocks that entered from the 
northwest, and spread out in different directions; the Eskimos 
toward the north and east along the Arctic coast; the Atha- 
pascans south-east into the interior; the Algonkins and Iro- 
quois eastward toward the Atlantic; the Nahuas southward, 
ultimately reaching New Mexico and Mexico and where they 
became the founders of the Pueblos and the Toltec 
civilization.* This is the opinion of Mr. Edward H. Payne 
and Mr. L. H. Morgan who identified the Mound Builders 
with the Pueblo tribes. This diversity of opinion has had a 
tendency to keep the mound builder question open,assome hold 
that there were different races formerly dwelling in the Missis- 
sippi Valley, some of them having come into the valley at an 

•The account of their m'gration is preserved in the picture writings o' the Nahuas. There 
is also a. tradition among the MuiCo?ees that their ancestors migrited from the west into the 
Gulf States and began at an early date to build mounds. The Delewares and Iroquois also 
have a tr.-\dition that when they came into the Mississippi va!ley--a people called Alleghewi 
were living in villages but after long wars they were driven to the south These traditions are 
confirmed by the study of the altar mounds and their contents and by other tokens. 


early date from one direction, and some from another, three 
or four different stocks being represented by the different 
classes of mounds and earthworks which have been identified 
though the subject is in that state of uncertainty that no one 
has been able thus far to say where these stocks originated, or 
at what time they first settled in the Mississippi Valley. There 
is one fact which has not received as much attention as it de- 
serves. It is. that there was a succession of population in near- 
ly every one of the districts into which the Mound Builders' 
territory has been divided. The succession began perhaps be- 
fore the last glacial period, but continued even up through the 
time when the continent assumed its present condition, and 
did not cease until after the Discovery by Columbus. This suc- 
cession has been traced not only in the relics which have been 
discovered, but in the skulls and skeletons, as well as in the 
mounds and earthworks, for the mounds were not built all at 
the same time, but at differenf times, and by different 

It is claimed by Prof. F. W. Putnam and others, that the 
Esquimaux reached as far south as Cape Cod, and left their rel- 
ics in the shell mounds found on the coast; also, by Rev. W. 
M, Beauchamp, that they once dwelt in New York state, for 
their relics have been found there beneath the soil. It is also 
well known that the Iroquois and Delavvares claim that they 
were preceded by a race called the AUighewi, who have been 
identified by some as the Mound Builders of the Ohio Valley, 
though others think they were the Cherokees. Dr. Horatio 
Hale held that the great Dakota stock once dwelt on the At- 
lantic Coast, and a portion of them migrated through the 
Mound Builders' territory and finally reached their home on 
the Missouri and upper Mississippi rivers. The evidence is that 
at one time the southern Mound Builders moved northward 
and took possession of the valley of the Ohio, and built the 
great mounds at Cahokia in Illinois, and at St. Louis, as well 
as those in Marietta, Ohio. Since the Discovery, .several tribes 
have passed over the same region, among them may be men- 
tioned the Cherokees, the Eries, the Iroquois, the Shawnees, 
the Delavvares, and the Hurons; all of these having used the 
mounds as burial places, and left their relics in them, but the 
difficulty has been to separate the relics from one another, and 
identify the tribe by the relics. The architologists have also 
been puzzled over the finding of certain highly-wrought and 
finely finished relics in the state of Ohio; relics that give the 
idea that a people or a tribe once dwelt there who had reached 
a much higher stage of art than any of the Indian tribes of the 
north, and yet they do not seem to have been left by any white 

These relics have been found in the larger mounds, such as 
are situated in the Scioto valley in Ohio, and in the Etowah val- 
ley in Georgia. It is also worthy of notice that many burial 




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mounds of Ohio present a succession of burials, some of which 
belong to the early mound builders, others to the nomadic 
tribes, such as the Algonquins, while the large platform mounds 
found on the Tennessee river are stratified in such a way as to 
show that they were built at different times, as a succession 
of council-houses or great houses had been built upon them. 

Another fact is worthy of notice. Each mound building 
tribe followed the kind of life which was best suited to the le- 
gion which had been sjlected for its own habitat. Those who 
dwelt in the forests naturally took to woodcraft, and to the 
mingled life of hunting, fishing, and partial land tilling; those 
who dwelt on the Ohio river where everything was favorable 
to permanent and stable lite, naturally took to the cultivation 
of the soil, and the establishing of villages, though they were 
obliged to surround their villages with earth-works as a matter 
of defense; while those who dwelt in the prairie region of the 
west naturally followed the nomadic life, occupying their vil- 
lages in the winter, but moving them in summer in order to 
follow the herds of buffalo and wild animals to their feeding 
grounds. It is noticeable that the people who dwelt in the 
cypress swamps of Arkansas built villages on the sand ridges, 
while drawing their subsistence from the swamps, and the peo- 
ple who dwelt in the mountain regions of Tennessee and Ken- 
tucky "called the Stone Grave" people, established themselves 
on the rivers and built their fortified villages, in which are the 
remains of their council-houses, their temples as well as their 
burial places, and prixatehousesand hearthswhile the Gulf states 
present the remains of a people who differed in many particu- 
lars from all others. These were visited by the early explor- 
ers under Ferdinand de Soto, and were found to be living in 
large villages, and to be agriclturalists, their fields of corn ex- 
tending from village to village, but their houses generally be- 
ing concentrated into a small compass. 

Another thought arises in this connection. The magnitude 
of the mounds and earthworks on the Ohio River and the 
Gulf States, impresses nearly everyone with the conviction 
that the people who erected them were more industrious, en- 
ergetic and better organized than the hunter tribes farther 
north, the contrast between the two classes of earthworks sug- 
gesting the idea that they were erected by different races. 
The largest of the earthworks were situated in southern Ohio, 
and constituted the village enclosures of an agricultural tribe 
which formerly dwelt there, but was driven off by the combined 
forces of the Iroquois and Algonkins, fierce battles being 
fought in their territory. These villages were surrounded by 
earth-walls, which perhaps were surmounted by timber stock- 
ades,making a series of "walled towns" which must at one time 
have presented a very imposing appearance. 

In some of the valleys, especially those of the Scioto and 
Miami Rivers and their iDranches, several villages were cluster- 


ed together, making a busy scene when the)' were occupied, 
and the rich fields were under cultivation. These village en- 
closures were all connected with the river banks, agricultural 
fields and the places of religious gatherings where their sacred 
dances were conducted, by so-called "covered ways," showing 
that the people were constantly besieged by enemies and so 
needed the protection of earth-walls. 

There is no place on the continent which is more sugges- 
tive of conflict than southern Ohio. The Pueblos of the west 
were built in stories, and in such a way that large villages could 
be contained in a single great house, the lower story present- 
ing a dead wall without door-ways, so that no lurking foe 
could gain entrance to the village except by the aid of ladders 
which were drawn up at night, the architecture of the village 
suggesting that the people who dwelt in them were surrounded 
by hostile forces. 

The same is true of the Cliff Dwellings, for they were plac- 
ed in the most secure positions amid the cliffs and were pro- 
tected by towers, which were either situated above the cliffs 
or in the valleys below. 

The villages of the Mound Builders also convey the impres- 
sion that hostile forces were besieging them, for on every hill- 
top adjoining the valleys where the villages were situated, were 
high conical mounds on which were placed sentinels by day 
and signal fires were lighted by night, so that no attack 
could be made without an alarm being sent from village to 
village, and from valley to valley. These village enclosures 
and high conical mounds excite our wonder especially when 
we consider the poor appliances for constructing them. There 
were no steel spades or shovels known to the people; no tram- 
ways or cars for carrying the dirt of which they were built, as 
no iron-bound wheel has ever been found, and no evidence that 
the wheel or axle was known to the people. All that the build- 
ers of the earth-works had to help them in this work were the 
rude stone axes, the few copper spades, a few stone hoes, a 
number of baskets woven out of reeds, and such other contri- 
vances as a rude people had devised. The work of con- 
structing the walls whi.h surrounded the villages, and build- 
ing up the lofty lookout mounds was very difificult under the 
circumstances, hut was accomplished by the combined forces 
which were undoubtedly directed by their chiefs or by such 
overseers or officers as had been appointed. 

I. The evidence is that the masses were governed by the rul- 
ing classes exactly as thev were in the southern states among 
the Muscogee tribes who built the pyramid mounds which are 
so numerous in that region. The view which is presented by 
the great valley is a very interesting one, for it suggests that 
here was a state of society, and a form of religion, quite differ- 
ent from that which prevailed among the hunter tribes to the 
north, east, and west of the region, and was like that vvhich 



existed among the so-called civilized races of the south-east 
where the masses were under the control of kings and priests. 
We should say that there is in this region a greater variety 
of tumuli or burial mounds than is found any where else on 
the continent. Some of these are stratified and show a suc- 
cession of burials. They suggest to us that the region was oc- 
cupied by different tribes, each tribe having its own method of 
burial and its own class of relics, and its own customs and 
ways. This renders the region an interesting field for study, 


for it confirms what we have said of the migration of tribes 
through this same valley. 

We are to notice further that there are altar mounds in 
southern Ohio, and that the altars contain a great variety of 
relics, great numbers of which show a high degree of art. 
What is remarkable about the altars is that they are always 
found at the bottom of the mounds, thus showing that the peo- 
ple who first occupied the region, and began the process of 
mound building, were far more advanced than those who follow- 
ed them. and for this reason they have bean called the "mound 
builders," par excellence. 


In studving these altar mounds and the so called temple 
mounds which adjoin them, we find that they were gener- 
ally close by some village enclosure, and probably mark the 
places of sacrifice and religious ceremony, which the early mound 
builders were accustomed to observe. This confirms the position 
we have taken that the earthworks which surrounded the vil- 
lage enclosures, were symbolic of sun-worship, as they abound 
in circles and squares, and in connection with them are cres- 
cents and crosses, giving an idea that there was a recognition 
of the four points of the compass, and motion of the heavenly 
bodies, as well as the phases of the moon. All of them were 

1 64 


objects of worship, and furnished motives for the people to 
observe religious ceremonies at certain periods of time. This 
habit of sacrificing to the heavenly bodies, and making offer- 
ings to them, at particular periods, is evident from the fact that 
in many localities relics have been found, partly burned, upon 
the altars, and even human bodies have been partially cre- 
mated, so that we are obliged to acknowledge that they were 
a very religious people and were under the direction of their 
priests who kept the calendar, and ordered the ceremonies. 


The peculiarity of these altar mounds is, as we have said, that 
they were near villages, sometimes within them, which villages 
were surrounatd by circular walls, the altars themselves being 
in the shape of circles and squares, and sometimes surrounded 
by crescents. 

It is true, also, that there were many dance grounds on the 
high lands, overlooking the beautiful villages, all being sur- 
rounded by earth-works in the form of circles and crescents, 
and connected with the village enclosures by covered ways, or 


parallel walls; thus showing that the builders were an indus- 
trious and religious, and at the same time a peaceable people 
and depended upon their earth-works and village enclosures 
for defense. All this throws much light on the village life of 
the people that prevailed, and makes us realize how perma- 
nent and peaceful their villages were. 

The impression formed by the study of the earth-works and 
relics left by this early people, is very different from that form- 
ed from the study of the so-called stockade or palisade villages 
which are so numerous in the State of New York, and to a cer- 
tain extent in northern Ohio. The impression is, that there 
was a succession of tribes, that the early people were driven 



away by wild tribes who came in and built forts and stockade 

We do not undertake to solve the problem or to say who 
the people were who built these village enclosures, and these 
altar mounds; but we associate them with the great stone forts 
and the high lookout mounds which are seen upon the hill- 
tops overlooking the valleys, and conclude that there was for- 
merly a confederacy of tribes which was well organized and 
governed by permineiit officers, who might either be called 
kings and priests or chiefs, and medicine men; and one object 


of building the high conical mounds was, that the people dwell- 
ing in a village in one valley might send signals to those living 
in another vallev, in time of attack, that all might escape to 
the great forts which were in the \icinity, and were so well 
provided with natural defenses. 

The picture is certainly an interesting one, and proves that 
the "mound builders, "so called, of the Ohio valley, were much 
more advanced and perhaps better organized, and governed, 
than were the wild tribes which dwelt in the stockade forts 
farther north, or the nomadic tribes which roamed over the 
prairies of the west and were mainl)- hunters. 

The clue to all this picture is furnished us by the village 


life that prevailed and filled the villages v.'ith such a busy 
scene. In proof of this, we shall speak of the altar mounds 
and their contents; but before doing so shall merely refer to 
the opinion of those gentlemen who first entered into the work 
of exploring the mounds and enclosures, and exhumed from 
them so many highly wrought relics of various kinds; Squier & 
Davis. The following is their description of the different 
earth-works and mounds: 

"In connection, more or less intimate with the various earthworks al- 
ready described, and the tumuli or mounds; together these two classes of 
remains constitute a single system of works, and the monuments of the 
same people. While the enclosures impress us with the number and pow- 
er of the nations who built them, and enlighten us as to the amount of 
military knowledge and skill which they possessed, the mounds and their 

1 66 


contents serve to reflect light more upon the customs and conditions of ait 
among them. 

Within these mounds we must look for the only authentic remains of 
their builders; they are the principle depositories of ancient ail; they cover 
the bones of the distinguished dead of remote ages, and hide from the pro- 
lane gaze of invading races the altars of the ancient people. 

In respect to the position of the mounds, it may be said that those of 
Ohio, occur within or near enclosures; sometimes in groups, but oftener 
detached and isolated. The altars or basins found in these mounds are 
almost invariably of burned clay." 

"The great size of the foregoingstructures precludes the idea that they 
were temples in the general acceptation of the term; as has already been 
intimated they were probably like the j^reat circles of England; the squares 
of India, Peril, and Mexico, within which were erected the shrines of the 
gods of the ancient worshipers, and the altars of the ancient religion. They 
may have embraced consecrated groves, and as they did in Mexico, the 
residences of the ancient priesthood. In Peru, none except the blood of 
of the royal Incas, whose iather was the son, were permitted to pass the 
walls of their primative worship, and the Imperial Montezuma humbly 
sought the pardon of his insulted gods for ventuiing to introduce his un- 
believing conqueror within the area consecrated by their shrines. Analogy 
would tnerefore seem to indicate that the structures (circles and squares) 
under consideration, were nothing but sacred enclosures. We find within 
these enclosures, the altars upon which the ancient people perlormed their 

sacrifices. We find also pyramidal structures, (platform mounds) at Ports- 
mouth. Marietta, and other places which corie^pond entirely with those of 
Mexico and Central America, except that of beinv'' composed of stone, they 
are constructed ot earth; and instead ot br( ad flights of steps they have 
graded avenues and spiral pathways leading to their summits," 
See Ancient Monuments page 157. 

The 5rst locality that we shall speak of is the one called the 
" Mound City;" it'is situated in Ross county, Ohio. The most 
striking feature of th's work is the unusual number of mounds 
which it contains; there are no. less than twenty-four within its 
walls. All of these have been excavated and found to con- 
tuin altars and other remains which put it beyond question as 
a place of sacrifice. One mound is 17 feet high with a broad 
base nearly 100 feet in diameter. 

These altar mounds were evidently the places of sacrifice of 
the people who dwelt in the villatres of the Scioto Valley, and 
were probably the places of sacrifice for the entire tribe, rather 


1 67 

than one clan, as the relics offered were more numerous than 
one clan would be likely to present. 

As proof of this we refer to the fact that within a distance 
of twelve miles there are no less than six village enclosures, 
and a great number of burial mounds scattered indiscriminate- 
ly over the surface, and the great fortified enclosure on the 
north fork of the Paint Creek was but a few miles away, while 
. lookout mounds were situated on the hill-tops surrounding 
the valley, showing that the people were banded together for 
defense as well as tor worship. 

That altar mounds were connected with the village enclo- 
sures and were the places for sacrifice for the people dwelling 
in them is proved by the works which were discovered on the 
north fork of Paint Creek, an enclosure that contained iii 
acres, and near the centre of which was a smaller enclosure 
which contained the altar mounds. This semi-circular enclo- 
sures was about 2,000 feet in circumference; within it are seven 
mounds, three of which are joined together, forming a contin- 
uous elevation 30 feet high, 500 feet long, 180 feet broad at the 
base. All the mounds were places of sacrifice containing altars. 

The first discovery was made at what is called Mound city, 
a small enclosure situated in the Scioto valley not far from the 
city of Chillicothe, in the .S^, 

region where village en- 
closuresare numerous, and 
where there are high look- 
out mounds on the hill- 
tops and forts not far dis- 
tant, giving us the idea 
that it was the home of a 
numerous people, all of 
whom dwelt in walled vil- 
lages and were confeder- 
ated together for mutual 
defense, and gained sub- 
sistence by cultivating the 
soil in the rich bottom lands and were happy and prosperous. 

Mound City contained twenty-six altar mounds which 
varied from 7 feet high and 55 feet base to 11 feet high 
140 feet base, all of which contained an immense number of 
articles, man)' of which were wrought into the shape of birds 
and beasts, and were the finest .'specimens of art wnich ha\e 
been discovered. 

The chief impression about the people is that thej' were 
very religious, and so under the control of chiefs and priests, 
that nearly everything was done from a religious motive; even 
their dances and amusements were in reality religious cere- 
monies. In this respect they resembled the mysterious peo- 
ple called Cliff Dwellers, and their survivors the Pueblos of the 
far west. In proof of this we would refer to the great number 
■of altar mounds and the wonderful relics which they contained. 




all of which show that the people had not only reached a high 
stage of advancement in sculptured art. but they were willing 
in the time of emergency to part with their most precious rel- 
ics on which they had expended so much labor and care, in 
sacrifices to their divinities. Such is the impression we have 
gained, both from the examination of the works themselves, 
and from the testimony of the various explorers who have dug 
into the mounds and discovered these altars and their relics. 

The following is a description of the altars and relics takea 
from them by Squier & Davis the authors of Ancient Monu- 

A largi^e number of these altars were found in an enclosure called 
Mound City, on the banks of the Scioto river. One of these is 7 feet high 
and 55 feet base; it was stratified and contained an intruded skeleton 
near the top; the altar was perfectly round and contained pottery vases of 
excellent finish; copper disks; a layer of silvery mica in sheets overlapping 
each other; and calcined bones. 

Another mound No. 2 was go feet in diameter, 7,'^ feet high; it was strati- 
fied and contained an intruded skeleton at the top; the altar measured 10 
foot in length and 8 feet in width, height is 18 inches; among the ashes was 
a beautiful vase. In the mound 3 feet below the surface were found two 
well preserved skeletons; many implements of stone, horn and bone; sev- 

eral hand axes and gouges of stone; articles made from the horns of the 
elk; one from the shoulder blade of a buffalo; a notched instrument for 
distributing paint and lines on the fares of the warriors. 

Another mound No. 4 was qox6o feet base, 6 feet in height and an altar, 
the base of which sank below the original surface of the soil. 

Another mound No. 3, egg-shapped, m?asuring 140 foot in length, 
60 foot wide, II feet high, contained a double altar, one within another. 
The remains found in this mound consisted of a quantity of copper; many 
implements of stone; a number of spear heads beautifully chipped out of 
quartz and garnet; a quantitv of fragments of quartz and crvstals of garnet; 
obsidian arrow point; a number of fine arrow-heads of limpid quartz; two 
copper gravers or chisels, or.e measuring eight inches in length; copper 
tubes; a couple of carved pipes made out of marble, one of them the figure 
of a bird resembling the tucan. 

Another moind No. 8, containe-I an altar 6 feet 2 inches by 4 foot, 
and, in the altar about 200 pipes, much broken up by the heat, composed 
of red porphyry stone resembling the pipe stone, all of them carved in fig- 
ures of animals, birds and reptiles, all of them executed with strict fidelity 
to nature, and with exq'jisite skill, among them an otter holding a fish in 
his mouth; the heron also holds a fish; the tiawk grasps a small bird in its 
talons, tears it with its beak; the panther; the bear; the wolf; the beaver; 
the squirrel; racoon; hawk; heron; crow; swallow; buzzard; paroquet; 
tucan; and other birds; the turtle; frog; toad; and rattl,e-srLake,,ar.e recog- 


■nized at first glance. But the most interesting and valued are a number of 
sculptured human heads, no doubt faithfully representing the physical fea- 
tures of the ancient people by whom they were made. 

Another mound No. 18. has three strata an intruded burial, and an 
altar which contains no relics but at a depth of 4 'i feet a pavement 6x4 
.feet was reached.upon this pavement a skeleton upon which afire had been 
built, partially cremating it. 

Another mound No. 7, measured 17 '< feet high, go foot base; it was 
stratified at the depth of 19 feet, was found a smooth level floor of clay, and 
a layer of silvery mica formed a rounded sheet one foot in diameter and 
overlapping each other like the scales of a fish; the entire length of this 
crescent was 20 feet and greatest width was 5 feet. This crescent suggested 
the idea that it was used as the symbol of the moon and was dedicated to 

that luminary. 

Mound No. 9, was found in the great work on the north fork of Paint 
Creek, and contained an altar, within which were found several instru- 
ments of obsilian; several scrolls cut from thin sheets of mica, used as or- 
naments of a robe; a trace of cloth; a number of bone needles; graven 
tools; a quantity of pearl beads. Another mound contained an altar that 
had a casing of pebbles and gravel paved with small round stones, a little 
larger than a hen's egg; and upon the altar ten well wrought copper brace- 
lets encircling some calcined bones, conveying the idea that the body had 
been cremated. 

Another mound No. 10, in the same enclosure, has two sand strata, but 
instead of an altar there are two layers of discs chipped out of stone. They 
were placed side by side, a little inclining and one resting a little above the 
other. Out of an excavation of 6 feet long by 4 feet wide, not far from 600 
were thrown. Supposing it to be square we have not far from 4,000 of these 
discs represented here. 

It should be remarked that while all these have the same general fea- 
tures, no two are alike in the size and shape of their altars, or character of 
the deposit made on them. One mound covers a deposit made almost en 
tirely of pipes; another of spear heads or of galena, or calcined shells or 

We pass from this region to the stone graves of Tennessee. 
These bring us into contact with another class of mounds, and 
another race or tribe of people. Gen. Gates P. Thruston is an 
authorit)' on this subject. 

The examination of the stone graves in Kentucky and Ten- 
nessee, confirms what has been said about distinct races having 
existed in the Mississippi valley. He says: 

"They present unmistakable evidence of a state of society above the 
social condition of the pre-historic tribes of Canada and the northeastern 
states, including New York, Pennsylvania and Virginia. This well recog- 
nized fact seems to separate the culture of the Mound Builders from that 
of the ancient tribes of the northeast, the Iroquois, the Hurons, and the In- 
dians of the Algonkin stock by well defined lines of distinction, indicating 
that the tribes of the north were more nomadic and lived in a more 
barbarous state. 

Unmistakable evidences are also presented in the preceding pages of 
contact, intercourse, or relationship, between the aborigines of the Missis- 
sippi \'ailev, and the ancient peoples of the southwest and of the Pueblo 
districts. The similarity in the forms of the crania fonnd in the ancient 
graves within the mound area, and the crania of the ancient inhabitants of 
Mexico. Central America, Peru and the Pueblos, suggests acommon origin. 
The broad headed or brachycephalic type is predominant. It appears to 
distinguish the cranial types of the old peoples of ibt- south and southwest 
from the long or oval crania of the northern tribes. The short, broad skulls 
seem also to have represented the ethnic tendencies to.vaid progress and 
development that characterized the ancient Mexicans and the Indians of 
the village or semi-village class." 



Prof. Putnam, in speaking of tlie diversity of races, says: 

"We find that the prevailing form of the skulls from the older burial 
places across the northern portion of the continent, from the Pacific to the 
Atlantic, is of the long, narrow type (dolichocephalic), while the skulls of 
the old peoples of Central America, Mexico, and south-western and south- 
ern portions of the United States, are principally of the short, broad type 
(brachycephalic), Following the distribution of the long and short skulls,. 
as they are now found in burial places, it is evident that tne two forms have 
spread in certain directions over North America; the short, or broad-head- 
ed race of the South spreading out toward the East and Northeast; while 
the long, or narrow-headed race of the North has sent its branches south- 
ward, down both coasts, and toward the interior, by many lines from the 
North, as well as from the East and West. The two races huve passed each 
other here and there; in other places they have met; and, probably, no- 
where, is there more marked evidence of this meeting than in the Ohio- 
Vallev, where have been found burial places and sepulchral mounds of 
different kinds and of different times." 

Mr. Thruston speaks of the art of the stone-grave people 
as furnishing analogues and identities which connect the anti- 
quities of Tennessee with the ancient arts and industries of the 
Mexico and Pueblos. He says: 

" The remarkable and mythological figures upon the shell gorgets andi 


copper plates surely show unmistakable evidences of a Mexican origin or- 
affiliation. The tube pipes from the valley of the Cumberland, the large 
ear ornaments, the images, the idols, the grotesque forms, the long cere- 
monial flints— all seem to connect the mound tribes with the arts, culture,, 
or religion of the peoples of the west and southwest, and to separate them, 
from the tribes of the north and northeast. The better class of pottery 
from the graves and mounds, and the ancient ware of the Pueblo districts, 
of New Mexico and Arizona, also show decided marks of resemblance. 

II. The best proof that the Southern Mound Builders were 
allied to the people of the far west and south-west,is given by 
the shape of the mounds themselves. These are truncated 
pyramids and were bailt in terraces. The abodes of the ruling 
classes were upon the upper platform, and were built around a 
hollow court exactly as they were among the Pueblos of the 
west and the ruined cities of the south-west, especially at 
Palenque. This is not a mere co-incidence nor was it 
the result of the physical surroundings, as has been main- 
tained but was an ethnic style. The same form of construc- 
tion was peculiar to the Nahua stock and all who de- 
scended from them. These pyramid mounds differ 
from the villages of the northern tribes where the enclos- 





ures are full of mounds and burial places, lodge circles, hearths, 
and stone graves, which show that they were occupied for a 
long time. The skulls that have been found in the mounds 
show that they were occupied by different races — an earlier 
and later. The swamp villages were fortified by walls which 
surrounded the enclosure, and were at the same time protected 
by the isolated position of the villages upon the ridges. 

The evidence is that the Ohio River was the dividing- 
line between two classes of Mound-Builders — the northern and 
the southern. But it was also the line of migration for eastern 
tribes to the west, and for western tribes to the east. A suc- 
cession of tribes, is also shown by the relics and the works. 
All the tribes are supposed to have occupied villages, which 
were surrounded with earth walls. They had also burial mounds, 
which were connected with the \illages; though it is uncertain 
whether they were house burials, or what may be called clan 

Double Mound near Chillicothe. 

burials. The difference between th6m consisted in the fact that 
single families might deposit their dead in the very spot occu- 
pied by their houses, but in case of clan-burials there would be 
a common burial place for all the members of the clan. 

In reference to this question, recent explorations have re- 
vealed the fact that certain mounds contain the remains of 
houses, situated at the level of the ground or lower, and were 
used for the burial of several persons, with such relics as were 
in common use, including those used for personal ornaments, 
as well as those for domestic purposes; while at a higher level 
bodies were deposited in the ground without any structure over 
them, yet very similar relics were deposited at their side. One 
such mound has recently been described by Mr. W. C. Mills, 
which seems to have been built at different times. 

This mound was built over a mound, the shape of the original 
mound being retained, but the latter mound arose to a greater 



height and extended to either side. The upper mound con- 
tained similar relics, but there were no traces of the house in 
it, or even of a hearth. 

It is worthy of. notice that the mounds of Tennessee con- 
tained stone graves, which were so arranged as to resemble a 
conical hut, the bodies being placed in the graves with the 
relics, but the space in the center was left as if designed for the 
central fire. The superstition of the people was that the fire 
continued to burn, and that the burial mound continued te be 
the abode of the spirits of the dead. The relics found in these 
stone graves of Tennessee resemble, in some respects, those 
found in the Ohio Valley, but there was a symbolism in them, 
which shows that there was a different religious system pre- 
vailing in the two sections. The symbols show that there was a 
recognition of the revolving sky, as well as the bird, the serpent, 
and the various animal divinities; this would naturally suggest 
that among the Southern Mound-Builders there was a higher 

Succession of Burials in the Adena Mound. 

state of civilization and a different form of religious belief. 

The same thing is proved by the relics discovered near the 
Etowah Mound. Some of these relics consisted of copper 
plates, which have been hammered or swedged, so as to present 
human forms with wings protruding from the shoulders, having 
masks on their faces, like beaks of birds; ornaments extending" 
from the head, like the double-bladed axe so common in the 
regions of the far East, and carrying in their hands a mace on 
which was a figure of the cross and other symbols. In the 
same mound was found a copper plate, with an eagle stamped 
upon it, the shape suggesting that it was used as the symbol of 

In reference to all the relics found in the stone graves, 
near the Etowah Mounds, we may say that they resemble those 
found in the neighborhood of the Cahokia Mound and as far 
west as the mounds in Missouri and Arkansas. But those found 
in the Ohio mounds are of quite a different character. 


III. The same thing is proved by the shape of the mounds 
We have seen that in Ohio the large majority of the burial 
mounds were hemispherical, and that the earth walls were in 
the form of circles and squares, and occasionally crescents, yet 
they formed village enclosures. This suggests the thought that 
the village enclosures themselves were made to represent the 
symbols which were common and well known to the people, 
and that there was a sense of security and of sacredness con- 
nected with them. All the processes of social life were con- 
ducted under the direction of religious leaders, and embodied 
the religious beliefs of the people. If we take, then, the works 
and relics found in the Ohio Valley and compare them with 
those common in the Gulf States, we shall find a great contrast. 

The pyramids show that the villages were built by those 
who were subject to the authority of chiefs, and who worked 
in masses under the control of a few master minds. The 
scarcity of burial mounds show that the bodies were preserved 
in dead houses, and were afterwards subject to " bone burials," 
or were cremated. The absence of walls show that they were 
a peaceable, agricultural people, who erected pyramids a? the 
abodes of their chiefs. These pyramids were arranged in 
clusters and were surrounded by artificial ponds called fish 
preserves, but were generally situated upon the banks of some 
stream. They were often built upon the bottom lands, where 
the soil was fertile, but sometimes upon the hill tops. Those 
on the low lands are supposed to have been erected for the 
accommodation of the chiefs, priests, and elders, or the ruling 
classes, but were also used as places of refuge, by all the vil- 
lagers, in the time when the freshets flooded the bottom lands. 
This is the best explanation which can be given of the pyr- 
midal mounds which are found on the Great American Bottom, 
opposite St. Louis. Here, there are about sixty high pyramids. 
They are arranged in parallel lines, some of them in pairs, with 
small ponds or excavations near them. The great mound 
called Cahokia Mound has often been described. It covered 
sixteen acres of land, and was about ninety feet high. It is 
surrounded by rich fields, in which are an immense number of 
relics, especially pottery vessels, and vast quantities of bones 
have been exhumed. Mr. J. M. Brackenridge says of this : 

There is no spot in the western country capable of being more highly 
cultivated, or giving support to a more numerous population than this val- 
ley. If any vestige of an ancient population could be found, this would be 
the place to search for it. The great number of mounds and the astonish- 
ing quantity of human bones dug up everywhere, or found on the surface, 
with a thousand other appearances, announce that this valley was at one 
time filled with inhabitants and villages. The whole face of the bluff which 
bounds it on the east, appears to have been a continued burying ground. 
But the most remarkable appearances are the two groups of mounds or 
pyramids themselves: one about two miles above Cahokia (a village nearly 
extinct), the other nearly the same distance below it. At a distance, they 
resemble enormous hay-stacks scattered through a meadow. One of the 
largest, which I ascended, was about two hundred paces in circumference 



at the bottom. The form was nearly square, though it had evidently under- 
gone some alterations by the washings of the rains. The top was level, 
with an area sufftcient to contain several hundred men. The prospect from 
the mound was very beautiful. Looking toward the bluffs, which are dimly 
seen at a distance of six or eight miles, the bottoms at this place being very 
widC: I had a level plain before me, bounded by islets of wood and a few 
solitary trees; to the right (the south), the prairie is bounded by the horizon; 
to the left, the course of the Cahokia River may be distinguished by the 
margin of wood upon its banks. Around me I counted forty-five mounds 
or pyramids, beside a great number of small, airtificial elevations. These 
mounds cover more than a mile in extent, to the open space on the river. 

This description by Mr. Brackenridge was written in i8ii, 
and gives the impressions which were formed upon his mind, 
as he looked upon them in their undisturbed state. Since his 

Cahokui Mound Restored. 

time, the entire bottom land, which is called the Great Ameri- 
can Bottom, has been filled with an industrious population. 
The mounds have been taken for building sites, and are now 
covered with houses, barns and kitchen gardens. The sum- 
mits, when partially leveled, are large enough to meet the 
requirements of a first-class farmer's abode. There are sixty- 
five of these mounds within a space of two miles. All of them 
are arranged on either side of the wide roadway, which leads 
from the bluff to the banks of the river. The Great Mound 
stands by itself, like a giant, in the midst of the plain — over- 

■ y k 

1' J'Ji';''V 


. 'Hi',,!,':..; 

















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! 2 

i S 
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topping the other mounds; while the farm house by its side 
looks like a little bird cottage, so great is the contrast between 
the prehistoric and the historic structures. 

These truncated pyramids were evidently used for the 
accommodation of the village chiefs, and were surrounded by 
the huts of the common people. The number of them shows 
that a large population had concentrated here. 

Mr. Brackenridge speaks of the two mounds in the distance 
on the bluff. One of these is called Sugar Loaf. It was evi- 
dently used as a look-out, as it commands an extensive view. 
So favorable was this mound for an observatory, that the Coast 
Survey took advantage of it, and made it a station for triangu- 
lating. Our conclusion is that here, opposite the mouth of the 
Missouri, a people resembling the race of Southern Mound- 
Builders once made their home, and carried on agriculture in 
the midst of this rich bottom land, but built the pyramids as 
the abode of the ruling classes and a refuge for the people in 
the time of high water. 

The same impression is formed by the group on the bluff at 
St. Louis. It is fully as interesting as that at Cahokia. The 
peculiarities of the group were as follows: First, they were 
arranged in a line on the second terrace, overlooking the bot- 
tom lands and the river, but at a height so as to be free from 
any over-flow; second, there was in the center of the line a 
group, which was in the form of an amphitheater, the back 
part forming a graceful curve, but the front part flanked by a 
pyramid on one side, and the " falling gardens" on the other; 
third, the mound, called " Falling Gardens," was terraced, the 
terraces all on the east and so situated as to give a good view 
of the river; fourth, the big mound was located at the extreme 
north of the line, and was connected with the group by a series 
of irregular pyramids, all of them on high ground. The 
arrangement of the mounds about a hollow square or open 
area is significant, for it is the arrangement which is very com- 
mon among nearly all the groups scattered through the Gulf 
States. It indicates that the pyramids were built for the 
accommodation of the village chiefs; the large mounds for 
their abodes, and the open area in the center of the pyramids 
as the assembly place for the entire village. 

There are many pyramid mounds resembling those at 
Ca'iokia scattered along the Mississippi River, from St. Louis 
to New Orleans; some of them on the bluffs overlooking the 
river, others on the bottom lands; all of which give the im- 
pression that they, who built them, were an agricultural people 
and in the habit of cultivating the bottom lands near the largest 
streams. But they built the pyramids to such a height as to 
escape the high water. 

There is a truncated pyramid, resembling the one at Cahokia, 
near Pine Bluff, in Jefferson County. Arkansas. It is repre- 
sented in the plate. It is 60 feet high; its top, which is flat, is 



144 feet long by 1 10 feet in wid^h, and has a terrace at one side 
similar to that at Cahokia. There is also a large excavation 
near it, from which the earth was taken for its construction. 

There is in Pulaski Count>', Arkansas, a group of mounds 
and earthworks, called the " Knapp Mounds," which is worthy 
of attention, as they are surrounded by a large earth-wall, and 
are situated upon the bank of a lake, and give every evidence 
of having been occupied as a village site. A description is 
furnished by Dr. Thomas in his report for 1890-91, which is as- 

The lake is three miles long^, and about a quarter of a mile wide. The 
field in which the group is situated, is frcim two to eij^ht feet above the 
water level. The surrounding earth wall is five or six feet in heij^ht, and a 
little over a mile in length. It starts at the margin of the lake, circles 
around the field and comes to the lake again on the north side. In 1844, 
the period of the greatest overflow known, these mounds were clear of 
water; and it is said that many people came here for safety, bringing their 
lioiisehold effects and stock with them. The largest mound is forty feet 
high, 280 feet long, and fifty feet wide. The summit is about fifty feet wide. 

Boat- Shaped Gorget and Atnutets. 

and ninety feet long. A second mound is oblong, and measures 175 by 200 
feet at the base, and 80 by 100 feet on top, and thirty-eight feet high. There 
is a large pond near it. Mounds lie to the southeast of the larger one, the 
largest of them, twelve feet high, 100 feet long, and ninety feet broad. In 
four places were patches of burnt clay, doubtless the remains of former 
dwellings. Ten other mounds, circular in shape, ranging from two to ten 
feet in height, from 25 to 100 feet in diameter, and 40 to 350 feet in length; 
all bearing evidence of having been used for residences, as pottery, stone 
tools, and the refuse of chips of stone work are found associated with them. 

IV. The relics found in the mounds prove also that there 
was a great diversity among the people, whom we call the 
Mound-Builders, for some of these relics show a high stage 
of progress; others, a stage which was so much lower, as to 
indicate an entirely different social status, though it is probable 
that all belonged to what Mr. Morgan would call " the upper 
status of savagery, or the lower status of barbarism." The 
question arises, whether these differences were owing to differ- 
ent race qualities, or to the influence of environment? 



The same question arises when we consider the material 
used in making the relics. It appears that the Mound Builders 
as a class, were in the habit of using copper in making a certain 
class of relics, and this fact would indicate that they were 
passing out of the Stone, into the Copper Age. This, how- 
ever, was not owing to any race quality, nor does it prove the 
unity of the race; but it does show that there was an abundance 
of copper, and that it was used in place of stone for con- 

A remarkable fact is to be mentioned in connection with 
this subject: the Efifigy-Builders of Wisconsin had the greatest 
number of copper relics in their possession, though they were 
ordinary hunters and were in a comparatively low stage of 
progress; while the Southern Mound-Builders, known to be 
agriculturists and the most adv-nncc d in uncial status, had the 

Copper Bracelet from the .hicna Mound. 

least number. This, however, was owing to the copper being 
more abundant in the one locality than in the other. The 
uroximity of the copper mines gave the advantage to the 
i^ffigy Builders. 

We may say that the use made of copper illustrates the 
race tendencies even more than the use of stone, for it en- 
abled each race to embody their ideas in material form, even 
belter than the stone did or could do. This is illustrated by 
the following facts: The Mound-Builders of Ohio, distant from 
the mines, used this metal mainly for personal ornaments, such 
as wristlets, bracelets, breastplates, and occasionally for head- 
pieces, such as those for holding plumes. 

Mr. W. C. Mills discovered at the Adena Mound a large 
number of bracelets made of heavy bands of copper, speci- 
mens of which are seen in the cuts. These were made of a 



Pieje of C/cth from Ade7ia Mound. 

rounded piece, tapering to a point, the ends over-lapping each 
other, around these bracelets was a quantity of woven cloth; 
copper rings were also found, and a piece of woven cloth, 
showing the texture; a head-dress made of large strips of mica; 
a perforated tablet, and a pipe; a boat-shaped gorget pierced, 

with two holes, with 
strings through these, 
holding the gorget to 
the arm, as a protection 
against the bow-string; 
an ornament of shell, re- 
presenting the figure of 
a raccoon, was found in 
the same mound. Al.^o. 
a comb, made'of the rib 
bones of an elk; and a 
number of needles and 
awls; all of which show 
that the industries of 
ihe Mound-Buildershad 
passed beyond the 
primitive stage. 
The Southern Mound-Builders used copper, both for orna- 
ments and mechanical purposes. Mr. C. C. Jones has described 
an axe, found in a stone grave in the Nacoochee Valley, nearly 
10 inches long, 2^4 inches wide, and very thin. It was marked 
by an abrasion from the hand'e, and made of copper beaten 
into its present form. A Portuguese narrative speaks of 
hatchets, drawn bows, bands of copper, implements orna- 
mented with rings of pearls, and gigantic wooden statues 
found in the temple of Talomeco. 

A copper axe and some copper rods or spindles were found 
in an ancient grave in the Etowah Valley, and copper pendants 
i n u p p e r 
Georgia. Cop- 
per spool orna- 
ments and 
other articles 
of this metal 
were found in 
the stone 
graves of Ten- 
nessee. Cop- 
per plates 
were found in 
Flo r i d a, and 

images with wings made of beaten copper plates, were found 
in a grave in one of the Etowah Mounds. 

These copper relics, so widely distributed, at first thought, 
might lead us to conclude that the Mcund-Builders all be 

Raccoon Amulet frovi Adena Mound. 



longed to a single race, with no difference between them, but 
they only prove that there was an extensive commerce between 
the tribes, that each tribe and race followed its own method in 
the manufacture of the metal. The difference in the uses shows 
the difference in the tastes of the peop e. It may be that these 

tastes came from ethnic causes, 
and are really proofs of ethnic 
differences. This is illustrated by 
the celt, which represents a stone 
mace from the stone graves. This 
mace has exactly the same shape 
as the one held in the hand of 
the dancing figures. 

There is another proof, more 
forcible than the use of copper. 
It comes from the portrait pipes 
and the pottery images found 
scattered over the territory of 
the Mound-Builders. These pipes 
are more numerous in the valley 
of the Ohio, and in the stone 
graves of Tennessee. And in each 
locality, they seem to be designed 
to portray the features of the per- 
sons that were living there. This 
will be referred to further in con- 
nection with the pottery, but the 
testimony is valuable and perti- 

These images are very inter- 
esting as objects of study, as they 
furnish an idea as to the different 
types of faces common among the 
prehistoric people. We notice 
that some of the faces which are 
portrayed on the pipes, especially 
those found in New York and 
Canada, have features like those 
of the white man, and occasion- 
ally the features of the Chinaman; 
but the majority show the features 
of the Indians of different tribes. 
The question 'arises, how these 
faces came to be so diverse, if the 
people all belonged to one race? The answer might be 
given by some, that they were not designed as portraits, but 
that the differences were owing to accident, rather than intent. 
But this answer is not satisfactory, for we know that the pre- 
historic people were great imitators. 

It is true that there are more of these portrait pipes among 


Stone Mace from the Stone 



Sctilptnrcd Head frofu the 
Ohio Mounds. 

the stone graves than in any other 
locality, but this only confirms the 
position taken by many explorers in 
reference to the stone grave people, 
namely, that there were different 
races represented among them; a 
position that was taken from a 'study 
of the skulls, rather than of the 
relics. It is well 
known that the 
many southern 
tribes had the 
.1 habit -of flatten- 
ing the forehead 
by artificial press- 
ure, and the result 
was that the skulls 
were abnormal in 
shape. Mr. C. C. 
Jones has spoken 
of this and given 
a plate represent- 

, 1 n i.- Pottery Portrait 

mg the skull of j^om a Stone Grave. 
a Mound-Builder, 
as compared with that of a modern Indian, buried on the the 
side of a mound, only a few feet away. He says: "The Flat- 
head Mound - Builders may 
have been a colony of the 
Natchez, journeying hitl tr 
from their habitat on the banks 
of the Mississippi River." 

The fact is that the Creeks, 
Choctaws, Chickasaws, and 
many other southern tribes, 
flattened their heads by arti- 
ficial means, as well as the 
Natchez. And it is probable 
that the idols and pottery 
portraits found in the stone 
graves and the mounds of the 
Gulf States, represent the fea- 
tures of these tribes, as they 
were in prehistoric times. We 
shall reproduce some of these 
portraits at the present time 
to illustrate the point. Let us 
take the portrait pipes and 
compare them with one an- 
other, and then take the two maps which represent the loca- 
tion of the tribes and the distribution of the relics. It will be 

Pottery Pipe from the Gulf States. 













kuN""'}pOLW0RSWP I '"■ \^'V 

( PYRtAMlDS \ ; \[ 





A^ MAP SB^@'^DK]^ 



t I 





found that each had its own mode of burial, its own style of 
art, and its own mode of decorating the person, and its own 
peculiar cast of countenance. Thus showing that, instead of a 
unit}', there was a great diversity'. The most remarkable thing 
is that the faces represented in the pipes and pottery portraits 
from the Southern States is exactly the same as that which 
may be seen in the carved columns of Central Anierica; the 
low retreating forehead, the large nose, and the thick lips" be- 
ing remarkable signs in each locality. 

There is so great a resemblance among the features repre- 
sented in these artifacts, as well as in the skulls exhumed from 



Inscribed Tablet from an Ohio Mound. 

the stone graves and the mounds of the Gulf States, that many 
have been led to the opinion that there were at least two differ- 
ent races mingled together in this region in prehistoric times, 
exactly as they were in the Ohio Valley; one of which belonged 
to the Northern, the other, to the Southern type. " 

The inscribed tablets may also be referred to, as illustrating 
the same point. The most of these tablets have been dis- 
covered in the Ohio mounds; one of which is represented 
in the cut. Another, called the "Guest Tablet," resembles 
this in many respects. Both of them represent a human- 


ized tree in combination with the serpent symbol. It 
should be stated here, that humanized trees are very common 
in Asia, and the fact that they are found iu the mounds would 
indicate that the Mound-Builders were in some way connected 
with Asiatic races. 

V. The study of languages and migration legends leads 
to the same conclusion. Mr. Gallatin, Dr. Brinton and Mr. A. 
S. Gatchet have demonstrated from the aboriginal names of 
persons, places and things mentioned by the narrators of 
De Soto's expedition, that the tribes then inhabiting the 
region were the Muscogees. The latter have a tradition that 
they came from the west, led by the sacred pole, and. settled 
east of the Mississippi River at an early date. The chief seats 
of power were upon the various rivers, and were marked by 
mounds. Dr. Brinton held with Dr. Horatio Hale, that the 
Dakotas went from the Atlantic coast westward to the Misis- 
sippi River; that America was peopled during the great Ice 
Age, and that the first settlers came from Europe by land 
connection over the northern Atlantic but that their long and 
isolated residence on this continent had moulded them into a 
singularly homogeneous race. 

But the important fact is to be borne in mind, that those 
who have carried their studies on the Pacific slope, have 
reached the opposite conclusion, viz.: that the continent was 
peopled from Asia, rather than from Europe. While those 
who have studied the Mound-Builders and their works, hold 
that there were two races and that they met in the Mississippi 
Valley and never lost their characteristics. While the pipe 
from Georgia represents a person with flattened forehead, large 
nose, and thick lips. 

Another inference has been drawn from the same data, 
viz. : that the Southern Mound Builders belonged to the Malay 
race, but the Northern Mound-Builders belonged to the Mon- 
golian race. This is an inference first advanced by Squier and 
Davis, but was adopted by others, especially those familiar 
with the civilized tribes of the Southwest, and it is still worthy 
ot consideration, though few are prepared to take the ground 
at present. 




One of the chief things impressed upon us by the study ot 
the Mound-builders' works is the peculiar method of defense 
which prevailed among them. This method was, to be sure, 
one which they held in common with all other prehistoric races, 
but it was in strong contrast with all that have ever existed in 
historic times. 

We may imagine that their fortifications are like those of 
modern times, but when we come to consider them more closely 
we find them entirely different. A few words in reference to 
these differences will be in place here. 

1. The people to be defended. — The picture before us is not 
that of a nation occupying a continent, nor of a people filling a 
State, nor a community occupying a township, but it is of a tribe 
occuping a river valley, or of a clan occupying a limited district. 
The clan was the unit of society. Each clan had its own burial 
place, its own place of religious assembly, its own chief, and we 
may suppose also its own stronghold. The method of defense 
was for the clans to gather and make common cause, the tribe 
itself being only a combination of clans. 

2. The class chosen to be defenders. — The Mound-builders 
never attained to the modern method of employing a distinct 
military class for defense. There were no different classes among 
them, and scarcely any division of labor. All followed the same 
general mode of life, were either fishermen, or hunters, or agri- 
culturists, the means of subsistence being common to all, and 
the responsibility of defense being shared by all. This condi- 
tion of things secured safety to the people. They all were or- 
ganized into clans, but the organization was such that every 
young man, when he was initiated into the clan, became a war- 
rior. They became a race of warriors by this means. The 
obligation to defend the clan was made a condition of member- 
ship. It has placed this duty before that of securing subsistence. 
The government was based on this system. There was a village 
government as well as a tribal one, each village having its own 
chief and its own council house. 

3. The extent of territory defended. — The Mound-builders 
occupied the Mississippi Valley, and their defenses are scattered 
over the whole region, every part of it giving evidence not only 


of an extensive signal system, but of fortifications as well. Still. 
so far as can be ascertained, the system of defense which, while 
it embraced this entire valley, was one which was divided and 
adapted to limited districts. There are, to be sure, evidences 
that confederacies existed among the Mound-builders Where 
these prevailed the system of defense extended over compara- 
tively large districts, districts which, in some cases, cover the 
half of a modern State. As a general thing the territory was 
more limited than this. It was the tribal territory that was de- 
fended. The village was, to be sure, the clan abode, and this must 
be defended first, but the clans were organized into tribes, and so 
the system of defense embraced the habitat of the tribe. 

4. The means of defense are in contrast. These differ even in 
historic times. In modern days the forts are the main source ot 
protection. The entire people are defended by the forts. The 
mediaeval method was to make the walled towns the chief source 
of protection, the castle being the dwelling place of the feudal 
despot. The ancient method was to surround the cities with 
walls and to make the citadels the chief source of protection. 
The prehistoric method was to make the village the permanent 
residence, depending on the clan organization as the main source 
of protecttion. The clan dwelt in the villages, and some- 
times protected these with walls and sometimes left them without 
walls. Their chief defense seem sto have been in the forts. Were 
they clan forts or tribal forts? The probability is that they were 
the latter. They were placed in the midst of the villages for the 
protection of the clan as well as the tribe. 

5. The location is to be considered. We have divided the 
Mound-builders' territory into different districts. The method of 
defense varied according to the location. In the northern re- 
gions the wilder and more uncivilized races dwelt. These erected 
stockades resembling Caesar's Forts, built in the forests of Gaul. 
In the central regions were the agriculturists. These lived in 
walled villages resembling those of mediaeval times, their fortifi- 
cations resembling castles. In the southern districts we find the 
system of pyramids, which resembled those of the ancient peo- 
ple of the East, especially the Assyrian and Chaldean. On these 
pyramids the chiefs had their residence, and found protection in 
their height. The Mound-builders' defenses embraced a great 
variety, if we take the different districts into account, and yet there 
was a resemblance between them. 

6. The stage of progress prevalent among the Mound-builders 
is another element of difference. We may draw a parallel between 
the historic and prehistoric ages, locating the different grades 
in different belts of latitude, recognizing the stages of progress 
as we cross these belts. The defensive system is, however, very 
different. This system depended largely upon the condition of 
the people. There was never any such protection as that given 


by the ancient cities. We must judge the two periods by differ 
ent standards. 

7. The religious system is perhaps the chief element of con- 
trast. We shall find that religion was a prominent factor in the 
defenses of the Mound-builders, superstition being as powerful 
among them as among the modern savages. We can not omit 
the element of religion from prehistortc races. 

With these few remarks we now proceed to the study ot the 
different methods of defense among the Mound-builders. 

I. The first method to which we shall call attention is that 
which appears in the extensive signal and observatory stations. 
We have already called attention to this system in the chapter 
on burial mounds. We will now consider it more especially in 
connection with village life. The fact is that a system of signals 
by which the villages could communicate with one another, and 
through which the people could be aroused to the sense of danger, 
everywhere existed. The extent of this signal system was, of 
course, dependent upon the extent ot the tribe or confederacy. 
In some cases the system would be limited to the valley of a 
single river, or perhaps to a portion of the valley. In other 
cases it would extend across the country from one river to 
another, In a few cases the signal system extended even beyond 
these limits, and may be supposed to have reached out till it 
covered the whole country with a network of beacons and sig- 
nals. The defense which this system gave to the Mound-builders 
can not be over estimated. The people may have dwelt in 
villages. Many of the villages were situated upon low ground, 
but the signal stations were so placed upon the high points sur- 
rounding them that there was a constant outlook, and the pro- 
tection covered a large region of country, 

I. We notice that this system was common among all the 
tribes of Indians. We have the testimony of explorers that it 
was very common in the far west. We present a few cuts which 
are taken from the reports of the Ethnological Bureau, and 
would refer to the remarks of Col. Garrett Mallery, Dr. W. J. 
Hoffman, W. H. Holmes and others. It appears that one method 
of signalling a village was to place a horseman on an eminence 
so that he could be seen in all directions. The horseman had a 
way of riding in a circle, and the sign was easily understood. 
The plate illustrates this, for here the horseman is on the hill 
and the village is in the valley, and the attacking party approach- 
ing from a distance. See Plate I. Another method is to build 
fires upon prominent points, so that the smoke could be seen by 
day or the flame by night, and the warning be given in this 
way. This is illustrated by Plate II. This particular cut shows 
the signal which was given to convey tidings of victory, but 
similar signals were given also as warnings. The natives have 
a method of signaling by fire, which is peculiar to themselves. 



The Dakotas, for instance, mix their combustibles so as to cause 
different shades of smoke; using dried grass for the hghtest, and 
pine leaves for the darkest, and a mixture for intermediate shades. 
These with their manner of covering a fire with their blankets, 
so as to cause puffs of smoke, or of leaving the smoke to rise in 
unbroken columns, gave to them a variety of signals. Some- 
times a bunch of grass was tied to an arrow and lighted, and 
shot into the air. The tribes of the southwest signal by this 
means. The Aztecs signaled to each other by fire during the 
siege of the City of Mexico. 

Fig. 1. — Hill Mound near Chillicothe. 

There are many signals among the tribes which are used in 
case of victory, and others for hunting purposes, and still others 
for purposes of recognition, but those for defense are the most 
important. We give a cut illustrating the method by which the 
natives now make signs to one another for the purpose of recog- 
nition (see Plate III).* The same custom of stationing sentinels 
on prominent points as lookout stations, has been long prev- 
alent. Circles of stones are often found upon elevated points 
of land, where a good view of the surrounding country can be 
obtained. These circles are comifion on the Upper Missouri, 
among the Dakotas in Arizona, among the Hualpai, among the 
Pah Utes of Nevada, in the Sho-Shonee country, in Wyoming, 
and in many other places of the far west. Frequently the ground 

*These Plates are reproduced from Tlie American Antiquarian, Vol. V, No. 3. 



around these watch stations is literally covered with flint chip- 
pings, as it was the custom of the sentinels to spend their time in 
making bows and arrows while watching. 

This signal system still prevails. It is more prevalent in an 
open country like the plateau of the west, and yet it probably 
prevailed in ancient times, in the region east of the mountains. 
Traces of it are seen among the Mound-builders. 

hr J.M' 3ruU 

h'iy. 2. — Map of ±'orts on the Miunii. 

2. The combination of signal mounds or observatories with 
beacons was a common method of defense. Some of these are 
accompanied with vast quantities of ashes, showing that beacon 
fires were long kept burning. In one case the ashes were thrown 
over a steep embankment, and yet were, when discovered, many 
feet in depth. Many of the burial mounds were used as watch 
stations or beacons, and it may be that a double protection was 
given by them. These observatories or beacon mounds are 
sometimes placed on very highpoints.f and thus they command 
the view of other points at a great distance. This idea is given 
by Dr. Lapham, in connection with Lapham's Peak, a high knoll 

tSee map of Scioto Valley, also of Miami Valley and of works at Marietta. 


in Washington County, which commands a very extensive pros- 
pect for miles in every direction. Dr. J. W. Phene in his visit 
to this country recognized the same in connection with the great 
serpent mound in Adams County, Ohio. He states that this 
work is located on an eminence, from which a view can be had 
of Lookout mountain, in Highland County, twelve miles away. 
The same has been observed by the author in connection with 
the works at Circleville. The great mound at Circkville was 
sixty feet high, and commanded a view of Lookout niountain, 
twelve miles to the south of it. On this mountain an observa- 
tory was located which commanded a view of the works at 
Hopeton, situated just below, and the works at Chillicothe, 
several miles to the south of it. It is maintained by E. G, 
Squier, that such a series of lofty observatories extend across 
the whole States of Ohio, of Indiana and Illinois, the Grave 
Creek mound on the east, the great mound at Vincennes on the 
west, and the works in Ohio filling up the line. Other persons 
who have made a study of the works along the Ohio River main- 
tain that there is a series of signal stations running up the 
branches of the rivers, such as the Scioto, the Great and Little 
Miami, the Wabash, and other rivers, and that all the prominent 
works through Ohio and Indiana are connected by a line of ob- 
servatories. This net-work of signal stations is interesting it 
studied in connection with the village enclosures; as there are 
many scattered throughout this whole region. 

Here we call attention to the explorations of the Rev. J. T. 
McLean, who has described the location of the large mounds on 
the Miami River. He has shown that they were connected with 
one another and with the forts and villages on that river. See 
Fig. 2. The author has followed up the subject and has found 
that a line of signal stations extends from Fort Ancient, on the 
Little Miami, to the great mound at Miamisburg, on the Big 
Miami. The latter mound was raised to the height of sixty-five 
feet, so as to give a chance to signal over a range of hills situated 
just west of it. The great mounds at Grave Creek, at Marietta, 
at Chillicothe and elsewhere were placed on prominent points 
that they might serve as signal stations. 

Dr. J C. Proudfit has traced the signal system along the Mis- 
souri River and has shown that it is very extensive. Hon. C.C. 
Jones has traced them through Georgia, in the Southern States. 
Gen. G. P. Thruston has traced them through Tennessee and the 
Cumberland Valley. Dr. J. H. Baxter has traced them on both 
sides of the Ohio River from Cincinnati to Louisville. We may 
suppose that the system extended over the entire Mound-build- 
ers' territory. It is probable that nearly all the large mounds 
were lookouts, and were essential factors in the military system 
of the Mound-builders. The distinguishing points of the system 
are as follows: 


3. A signal station designed for defense is generally a mound 
located on a prominent point, in close proximity to some village, 
and is so connected with other observatories that signals can 
easily be exchanged. The signal stations on the hills commanded 
other stations at a great distance, so that no enemy could come 
within miles of the spot without being seen. Such a system 
of outlooks maybe seen surrounding the ancient capital at New- 
ark, which was singularly situated in the midst of a natural am- 
phitheater, while the observatories were located on the hills sur- 
rounding. It has been stated also that observatory mounds are 
located on all the hills in this region, forming lines between this 
center and other prominent though distant points. A line has 
been partially traced from Mt. Vernon to Newark, the large 
mound in the cemetery at Mt. Vernon being one of the series. 

On a hill opposite Chillicothe, nearly 600 feet in height, the 
loftiest in the entire region, one of these signal mounds is placed. 
A fire built upon this would be distinctly visible for fifteen or 
twenty miles up, and an equal distance down, the valley of the 
Scioto, including in its range the Circleville works, twenty miles 
distant, as also for a long way up the broad valleys of the two 
Paint Creeks, both of which abound in the remains of ancient 
villages. In the map of the Miami valley a similar position ob- 
served, and similar mounds occur along the Wabash, the Illinois, 
and the upper Mississippi, showing how extensive this signal 
system was, at the same time showing how intimately it was 
connected with the villages, ^he author has also, during the 
preparation of this paper, discovered sites of ancient villages near 
the lofty eminence called the Platte mounds, in Wisconsin, and 
the conviction has grown with the study of the works in all sec- 
tions of the country that the signal system was closely con- 
nected with all the prominent points, and that villages were 
frequently located near these points for the very purpose of se- 
curing the defense offered by this system. 

4. The large conical mounds were used as signal stations. 
It took a long time to finish one of these conical mounds. The 
beacons or funeral fires may have been kept burning, and so de- 
fense of the living as well as burial of the dead was accomplished 
by them. The fact that conical mounds were so often placed upon 
high points and commanded extensive views would indicate that 
the interchange of signals was very extensive. We have given 
elsewhere cuts of the large conical mounds at Grave Creek,* 
Marietta, Miamisburg and Vincennes. These were located near 
ancient villages and were connected with many other works. The 
mound at Vincennes is only one of a group which surrounds the 
city, and is said to mark the site of an ancient capital. These 

♦This point can be seen in the cuts illustrating the articles on "Sacred Enclosures" 
and "Migrations". These cuts show how the signal stations and the forts are con- 
nected with the villages. 


are, however, only a few of the many localities. In fact there is 
scarcely a bluff along the whole course of the Mississippi River 
where some such beacon mound is not found. The same is true 
on the iVIissouri, the Ohio, the Cumberland, the Tennessee, and 
other tributaries. It is the commonest thing for explorers to 
find burial mounds which were used as lookout stations. It is 
always interesting to notice how skillfully these spots are chosen 
and how extensive the views are from them. 

5. Beacon fires were frequently lighted on the walls of the 
defensive enclosures, and many elevated points within village 
enclosures were used for the purpose of signaling distant places, 
so that we cannot confine the signal system to mounds or iso- 
lated stations, though as a general rule the signal system was 
outside and supplementary to the village enclosure. For illus- 
trations of this see Plate representing the hill fort. 

We would refer here to the fact that in the ancient fortification 
at Bourneville, O.. there was a rocky summit which overlooked 
a great valley below, on which traces of beacon fires have been 
discovered, and that upon the walls of the enclosure at Fort 
Ancient traces of fire have also been discovered. 

On the other hand there are many villages where the location 
of some lofty point near by would give great opportunity for ex- 
changing signals either by fire or smoke for great distances. 
Many such points are seen in different parts of the country. 

Messrs. Squier and Davis mention the tact that between 
Chillicothe and Columbus, in Ohio, not far from twenty of these 
points can be selected, the stations so placed in reference to each 
other that it is believed that signals ot fire might be transmitted 
in a few minutes. 

II. We now turn to the second method of defense. This 
consisted in the erection of stockade forts. It may be said that 
this was the common method of the wilder tribes and was pecu- 
liar to the northern class of Mound-builders. There were three 
varieties of stockades: 

I. Those located on high ground, and which were naturally 
defended and needed only a double wall across the tongue of 
land to protect this. This is the simplest kind of a fort. Many 
of them have been seen and fully described in the northern 
part of Ohio.* Col. C Whittelsey has described some of these. 
They are situated at Conneaut, at Ashtabula, at Painesville, at 
Cleveland, and various places on the Cuyahoga River, near San- 
dusky, on the Sandusky River, and at many points along the 
valleys of these different streams which run into Lake Erie. We 
call attention to these works, as they illustrate the number and 

*See Tract No. 41, Western Reserve and Northern Ohio Historical Society, Ancient 
Earthworks. Seealso, Ancient Earth-Forts of the Cuyahoga valley, Ohio, Cleveland: 
1871. See History of Ashland county by Dr. A. H. Hill. See work on Mound-builders 
by Rev. I. T. McLean, and Aboriginal Monuments of Western New iork, by E. h, 



situation of the works of the late Indians, and also show the 
difference between their works and those of the Mound-builders. 
It would seem that a perfect network of these defenses v/as 
spread over the northern part of the State. We give a cut of 
the fort at Newburgh, Ohio. See Fig. 3, This illustrates the 
style of fort. There are many such forts in Northern Ohio. 

It will be seen from these that the defense consisted mainly in 
the location. The walls were erected merely to supplement the 
natural defense which the rocky precipices and the isolated 
points of land would furnish. But with these inclosures there 
was also the combination of the outlook. Dr. Hdl, of Ashland, 
O., has given this idea in his description of his works which are 
situated in Ashland county. He says, that here the forts are 
within sight of one another through the whole length of the 
river, those prominent 
parts, or tongues of 
land,which would give 
distant views having 
been chosen for the 
erection of forts. It 
should be said that this 
part of Ohio abounds 
with prominent bluffs, 
whose precipitous 
heights furnish excel- 
lent defense. The Hu- 
ron Shale is here worn 
down by the action of 
water, leaving terraces projecting out in scalloped form and which 
make a series of level platforms, while the circuitious valleys be- 
low make an open territory between them, and thus fortifications 
could be easily erected, and a complete system of signal stations 
be established along the river. 

2. Another type of stockade is common in the State of New 
York. It is also iound in the northern part of Ohio, the for- 
tification at Conneaut being a good specimen. Here there are 
remains of stockades, the stockades having been placed on the 
summits of the hills where an extensive outlook could be had. 
These stockades may have so been connected that a complete 
system of signals could be conducted across the country, and 
natives defend one another by the combination of the outlook 
with the enclosure. These ancient stockades have been de- 
scribed by E. G. Squier, but the connection between them has 
not been traced. 

It is a fact, however, that this State was the seat of a great 
confederacy, that of the Iroquois, and this renders it probable 
that these prehistoric forts were connected by a signal .system. 
It is known that the Iroquois had a complete military organiza- 

Fig. $. — Stockade Fort in yortherii O/iio. 


tion ; their central capital was at Onondaga, but there were trails 
running from this point throughout the whole State, and the 
villages were connected by the trails. It is known also that the 
Iroquois had stockades, and that they defended themselves 
against the whites by these fortifications. Some of the sites of 
the Iroquois forts have been identified. The boundaries of the 
different tribes are also known. Under such an organization 
the signal system would come into use, and we can imagine how 
completely the State was protected by the combined watchfulness 
of the people with the defenses offered by these stockade forts. 

There are descriptions of the defenses of the Iroquois which 
enable us to understand the military architecture of the prehis- 
toric races. We give a cut taken from the Documentary His- 
tory of New York, which illustrates the subject. It is a picture 
of a village of the Onondagas, attacked by Champlain in 1615. 
See Plate IV. "The village was enclosed by strong quadruple 
palisades of large timber, thirty feet high, interlocked the one 
with the other, with an interval of not more than a half of a foot 
between them, with galleries in the form of parapets, defended 
with double pieces of timber, proof against our arquebuses, and 
on one side they had a pond with a never-failing supply of water 
from which proceeds a number of gutters, which they had laid 
along the intermediate space, throwing the water without and 
rendering it effectual inside for the purpose of extinguishing fire." 

The picture illustrates several points, (i) The villages were 
frequently surrounded by stockades, the houses within the en- 
closure being arranged in blocks. (2) The location of the en- 
closure was convenient to water, and attended with natural 
defenses. There is no evidence of the signal system in this case, 
and the use of water in the manner described is uncommon 
among the northern races, though in the southern states there 
are many cases where the villages were surrounded by artificial 
ditches and ponds of water. (3) The manner of constructing 
the wall which surrounded the defensive village enclosures. We 
call special attention to the elevated platform or parapet, as it 
may possibly help us to understand the manner in which the vil- 
lages of the Mound-buildeis were defended. If we substitute 
for this timber wall a solid earth work, making the top of the 
earth wall a platform or parapet, and place the barricade on the 
outside, we shall have a defense very similar to this of the Iro- 
quois. The combination of stockade with an earth wall would 
thus make an admirable defense for a village, and with much less 
expense of labor and time than if it were wholly of timber. 

In reference to this Rev. William Beauchamp advances the 
idea that the erection of earth-walls as parapets preceded this 
method of stockades with platforms, but that the latter was 
found to be the easier method, so the earlier mode was aban- 
doned. A view of one of these stockade forts is given by Sir 


William Dawson in his work "Fossil Men." He has given a 
quotation from Cartier's voyage, which describes this fort at 
Hochelaga, and has given a cut of the fort as it existed. Ac- 
cording to the cut the walls of the fort were built of round 
trunks of trees, rather than of planks, but the town was a reg- 
ular circle, with the houses arranged around a square. "The 
city of Hochelaga is round compassed about with timber, with 
three course of rampires, framed like a sharp spire or pyramid. 
It had but one gate or entry, which is shut with pikes, stakes 
and bars. Over it, and also in many places in the wall, there is 
a kind of gallery to run along and a ladder to get up with, and 
all filled with stones and pebbles for the defense of it. There 
are in the town about fifty houses, at the utmost fifty paces long 
and twelve or fifteen broad, built all of wood and covered with 
bark. They have in the middle of their towns a large square 
place, being from side to side a good stone's cast. They showed 
us the manner of their armor. They are made of cordes and 
wood finely wrought together." The diameter of this enclosure 
is given as about 120 yards, and each side of the square in the 
center about thirty yards. It was situated at the Ijase of Mt. 
Royal, on a terrace between two small streams. The opinion 
is expressed that it was intended to accommodate the whole 
population in times of danger. 

3. A third class of stockades is one which we are now to con- 
sider. It consisted in creating an enclosure capable of holding 
an extensive settlement, placing a heavy earth wall about the 
enclosure, and surmounting this by a palisade of timber. This 
was the common method among the Mound-builders of the 
ruder class. There are many such fortifications scattered over 
the Mississippi Valley. Some are situated in the prairie district, 
others in the forest region. Many such are found in New York, 
Michigan and Southern Ohio, but they should be distinguished 
from the regular Mound-builders' forts. The peculiarity of this 
class of stockades was that they were very large. The area 
within them frequently amounted to thirty or forty acres, though 
twelve to fifteen acres would perhaps be the average. We may 
take the fortified hill near Granville, Ohio, as a good specimen 
of this class. It encloses the summit of a high hill and embraces 
not far from eighteen acres. The embankment is carried around 
the hill and conforms generally to its shape. The ditch is on 
the outside of the wall, the earth having been thrown inward. 
There are no palisades on the summit, but the probabilities are 
that these surmounted the wall and have perished Upon the 
highest part of the ground within the enclosure there is a small 
circle, two hundred feet in diameter, within which are two small 
mounds. Upon excavation, these mounds were found to contain 

A fortification similar to this is described by Squier and Davis, 


as existing near the sacred enclosure on the Scioto River. This 
also had a monnd in its center, and within the mound an altar. 
On this altar were discovered some remarkable relics. The 
area of this was twenty-five acres. It is surrounded by a ditch, 
and has six gateways. The character of the work resembles 
that of an ordinary stockade fort. The only thing which would 
identify it as the work of the Ohio Mound-builders is its prox- 
imity to the sacred enclosure called Mound City and the fact 
that it contained a mound with a paved fire-bed and the remains 
of a sacrifice. The Granville works contained a very large 
mound in the exact center, and yet had all the characteristics of 
the common stockade. The discovery of the paved altar in the 
fort near Chillicothe has been interpreted by some as proving 
the identity of the Mound-builders of Ohio with the stockade- 
builders of New York, but in the absence of other proof we must 
consider it a mere conjecture. Stockade forts like these were 
very common throughout the Mississippi Valley, but they are 
generally ascribed to the later rather than to the earlier Mound- 
builders. The prevalence of stockade forts in the midst of the 
Ohio Mound-builders' works only proves a succession of popu- 

Descriptions of the stockade forts have been given by Squier 
and Davis. We would refer the reader to the work by these 
authors for more definite information. Nearly all of these 
have high mounds in the interior of the enclosure or in the 
vicinity, which vary from twelve to fifteen feet in height, and were 
probably used as lookouts. 

We give a copy of the plate (see Fig. 2) from the "Ancient 
Monuments," which exhibits a section of six miles of the Great 
Miami Valley. No less than seven enclosures are in this space, 
the most ot them forts. It will be noticed that, besides the square 
enclosure (C), there are three classes of stockades, i. Those 
which have remarkable gateways (A). 2. Those which have 
double walls, ditches and lookout mounds (B). 3. Those which 
have single walls across a promontory (G). The forts which 
interest us are those with the remarkable gateways. Some of 
them are on the terraces near the river, several are upon the sum- 
mit of the bluff overlooking the terraces. In area they vary from 
eighteen to ninety-five acres. We shall describe at present only 
a few of these,' the ones called stockades — these being the 
largest. The fort marked A will be described under the head of 
" Hill Forts". It will be noticed that there are lookout mounds 
on all of the high hills; that the hill fort is isolated and well 
protected by walls on all sides ; that the stockade forts are on 
lower ground than the hill forts, being situated on the terrace, 
near the river. We make a distinction between these forts, be- 
cause they seem to belong to different periods and were probably 
• built by different classes or races of Mound-builders. We take 


the one called the Colerain, six miles south of Hamilton. It 
encloses ninety-five acres. Its walls have an average height of 
nine feet. It commands a large peninsula, two miles in circum- 
ference, formed by a singular bend in the river. It is upon the 
terrace, which is thirty-five feet above the river. Some distance 
from the fort, and still further to the south, is a hill three hundred 
feet high, upon the top of which are two mounds measuring five 
and ten feet in height; they are composed of earth and stones 
considerably burned. There is a ditch on the outside of the wall. 
See Fig. 4. At one extremity of the works, the wall is looped, 
forming a bastion of singular shape. 

This fort is classed with the stockades. We elsewhere ascribe 
it to the serpent-worshipers, classing it with the old work at Fort 
Ancient and with the fort near Hamilton, and others. Our 
reasons for so classing it are as follows : i . Its great size. Squier 
and Davis say that it is a work of the first magnitude and com- 
pare it to Clarke's Fort, on the north fork of Paint Creek. 2. The 
unusual height of the walls — nine feet — would indicate that it 
was no ordinary stockade. 3. The peculiar shape of the gate- 
way. 4. The location of the fort. It is on the terrace over- 
looking the flood plain. It is not a hill fort, and hardly answers 
to the stockade fort. It seems to have been a village — perhaps 
a village of the serpent-worshiping Mound-builders. 

Two other forts, which we class among stockades, may be seen 
on this map. One is situated on the terrace near the river. It 
covers eighteen acres, and is surrounded by a double wall, with 
the ditch on the inside. The peculiarity of this fort is that the 
inner wall and ditch pass over a large mound, which is denom- 
inated a lookout mound. 

The next fort in the series is situated on the Big Miami River, 
six miles south of Hamilton. It consists of a simple embank- 
ment of earth carried around the brow of a high, detached hill, 
overlooking a wide and beautiful section of the Miami Valley. 
The side of the hill on the north, towards the river, is very abrupt 
and rises to the height of one hundred and twenty feet above the 
valley, from which an extended view may be obtained. There 
are two mounds of earth placed near together, on the highest 
point within the enclosure, measuring ten feet in height. The 
area of this enclosure is twenty-seven acres. 

Two other enclosures containing single walls and single gate- 
ways are mentioned. One on Four-mile Creek contains twenty- 
five acres, and is situated on a promontory formed by a bend of 
the creek. The other is on Nine-mile Creek. Both of these 
have high mounds in the interior of the enclosure, varying from 
twelve to fifteen feet in height, which were probably used as sac- 
rificial or lookout mounds. 

Two other fortifications are mentioned by Squier and Davis, 



situated on the Miami River, one of them two and a half miles 
above the town of Piqua, It occupies a third terrace, which here 
lorms a promontory. It contains about eighteen acres, and is 
surrounded by a wall composed mainly of stone. The other is 
on the bank of the Great Miami, three miles below Dayton. It 
resembles the one southwest ot Hamilton. The side of the 
hill towards the river is very steep, rising to the height of one 
hundred and sixty feet. At this point there is a mound, which 
commands a full view of the surrounding country for a long 
distance up and down the river. A terrace, apparently artificial, 
skirts the hill thirty feet below the embankment. The terrace 
may be natural, but it has all the regularity of a work, and may 
be compared to the work at Fort Ancient. 




j^lg^ I,,— The Works at Colerain. 

The next fort which we shall mention is also situated on the 
Miami. Fig. 5. It corresponds in all essential particulars with 
those already described, with the exception of the gateway. It 
occupies the" summit of a promontory bordering the river, which 
upon three sides presents high and steep natural banks, rendered 
more secure for purpose of defense by artificial embankments. 
The remaining side is defended by a wall and ditch, and it is 
from this side only that the work is easy of approach. The 
most interesting feature in connection with this work is the en- 
trance on the south. The ends ot the wall curve inwardly as 
they approach each other, upon a radius of seventy-five feet, 
forming a true circle, interrupted only by the gateways. Withm 
the space thus formed is a small circle, one hundred feet in diam- 
eter; outside of which, and covering the gateway, is a mound 


(e), forty feet in diameter and five feet high. The passage be- 
tween the mound and the embankment, and between the walls 
of the circles, is now about six teet wide. The gateway or 
opening (d) is twenty feet wide. This singular entrance, it will 
be remarked, strongly resembles the gateways belonging to a 
work to be described under the head of stone forts, although 
much more regular in its construction. The ditches (f f ) which 
accompany the walls on the south subside into the ravines upon 
either side. These ravines are not far from sixty feet deep and 


Fig. 5.— Works near Hamilton, Ohio. 

have precipitous sides. The area of the work is seventeen 
acres. The valley beyond the river is broad, and in it are 
many traces of remote population, of which this work was 
probably the fortress or place of last resort during turbulent 
periods. The gateway of this enclosure resembles serpents' 
heads, and reminds one of the entrance to the lower enclosure 
of Fort Ancient. 

III. We now turn to the third method of defense. This con- 
sists in the selection of some "stronghold" of nature and there 
placing a fortification, walls of earth being placed on the sum- 
mit of the precipice as a supplement to the natural defense, the 
whole designed to be a place of retreat in time of danger. To 
understand clearly the nature of the works, it should be remem- 
bered that the banks of the rivers are always steep, and where 
these are located they are invariably high. The edges of the 


table lands bordering on the valleys are cut by a thousand ra- 
vines, presenting bluffs, hig^h hills, steep and detached and iso- 
lated heights with steep sides, and cliffs which are precipitous 
and often absolutely inaccessible. The natural strength of such 
positions certainly suggest them as the citadels of the people 
having hostile neighbors or pressed by invaders. Accordingly 
we are not surprised to find these heights occupied bv strong 
and complicated works, the design of which is no less indicated 
by their position than by their construction. 

Here let us say that these fortifications are to be distinguished 
from the walled towns or villages so common in certain parts of 
the country, especially in Southern Ohio. In reference to this 
we are to notice (i) that the fortifications are always placed on 
high and steep hills. Their walls always take the form of the 
outline of thehill, and hence are more or less irregular in shape, 
as they enclose the whole top of a hill and conform to the shape 
of the hill in contour. The walled villages are more regular. 
They are usually found on a level plain, one of the river benches 
or terraces, and have no natural barriers to prevent the regular- 
ity of their shape. The square and circle predominate, and are 
often found united in a seemingly arbitrary manner. (2.) In 
point of size, the fortifications vary greatly. Some of them 
contain only a few acres; others contain from one hundred to 
four hundred acres. The fortified villages are, however, quite 
uniform; the area varying from eighteen to fifty acres, but the 
majority containing about twenty-seven acres. (3.) The posi- 
tion of the ditch, whether inside or outside of the vallum or 
wall, IS to be noticed. At one time it was thought that all 
works which had the ditch on the inside were sacred enclos- 
ures, while those which had the ditch outside were fortifications 
belonging to the Indians. There is, however, no uniformity. 
The material taken from the ditch was placed in the embank- 
ments, and in cases of fortifications on the hilltops it would be 
a matter of necessity that the ditch should be on the inside, the 
excavations or pits from which the dirt was scraped being in 
the immediate vicinity of the wall. The forts are found on the 
tops of the highest hills. They were sometimes surrounded by 
stone walls and sometimes by earth embankments, according to 
the convenience or abundance of the material furnished by the 
locaHty. (4.) Mound-buiiders' forts in Ohio were characterized 
by much engineering skill, and are distinguished from later 
Indian forts bv this circumstance. Some of the Mound-builders 
built their forts very large and placed elaborate and complicated 
walls at their gateways, exercising much military skill in erect- 
ing the walls and planning outworks which would furnish the 
best protection. Others erected only rude earth walls, took no 
pains with their gateways and exercised little skill in their con- 
struction. There are many such fortifications. 

This class of defenses we have called " hill forts." This term we 

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use for the sake of convenience, rather than for its accuracy. 
Nearly all the forts are situated upon hills, but the "hill forts'"' 
technically so called, are different trom the ordinary class. Their 
strength consists in the fact that the hill upon which they are 
placed is itself a stronghold. The artificial wall placed upon 
the hilltop is only supplementary to the defenses of nature. The 
" hill forts" so called are very common in Southern Ohio. They 
are found at the mouth of the Little Miami River, on Brush 
Creek, on Paint Creek and in many other localities. Some of 
the largest forts in the Mississippi Valley are included in this 
class. Descriptions of " hill forts" have been given by Squier 
and Davis ; we shall draw from them our information. 

1, The first fort which we shall describe is called Fort Hill. 
"It is situated in the southern part of Highland County, thirty 
miles from Chillicothe. The defensive works occupy the sum- 
mit of a hill five hundred feet above the bed of Brush Creek and 
eight hundred feet above the Ohio River. The hill stands iso- 
lated, and is a conspicuous object from every approach. Its sides 
are precipitous. The fort has an area of forty- eight acres. Run- 
ning along the edge of the hill is an embankment of mingled 
earth and stone, interrupted at intervals by gateways. The 
length of the wall is 8,224 feet — something over a mile and a 
half. The ditch on the inside has an average width of fifty 
feet. The height of the wall, measuring from the bottom of the 
ditch, varies from six to ten feet, but rises in places to fifteen 
feet. There are thirty-three gateways, most of them not exceed- 
ing twenty feet in width. Considered in a military point of view 
the spot is well chosen and well guarded, and may be regarded 
as nearly impregnable and as a natural stronghold. It has few 
equals. The degree of skill displayed and the amount of labor 
expended in constructing its artificial defenses challenge our 
admiration and excite our surprise. The evidence of antiquity 
is worthy of more than a passing notice. The crumbling trunks 
of trees and the size of the trees which are still livins' would 
lead irresistibly to the conclusion that it has an antiquity of at 
least one thousand years." Plate V. 

2. We turn to the works at Fort Ancient. This is a remarka- 
ble specimen of a " hill fort."* Here is an enclosure capable 
of holdmg an extensive settlement, the walls being nearly three 
miles and a half in extent, and the area of the enclosure being 
about one hundred acres. We see also an outwork, con- 
sisting of a covered way. which runs from the enclosure toward 
the east. This outwork is distinguished by one feature: At 
the end of the covered way is an observatory mound. The sup- 
position is that this observatory was the place where a watchman 
was stationed, but that the distance was so great that the com- 

*The book on Fort Ancient by W, K. Moorehead is the best authority. 


munication might be cut off, and that the parallel walls were con- 
structed so as to give protection to the sentinel and to keep up 
a communication. The country about the enclosure, especially 
that to the east, is open prairie and has no natural defense. This 
wall is 2,760 feet in length. The original height of this wall is 
not known, as cultivation of the soil has nearly obliterated it 
Two high mounds are found between the enclosure and the 
covered way, making a double opening to the enclosure, and, at. 
the same time, giving an outlook from this point. The enclos- 
ure itself is remarkably well adapted to the purpose of defense. 
See Fig. 6. 

( i) Its situation is to be first observed. It is on top of a promon- 
tory defended by two ravines, which sweep around it to either 
side, forming precipitous banks, in places 200 feet high. The 
ravines are occupied by small streams, with the Miami River 
close by, and below the works, on the west side. The hill upon 
which it is located is divided into two parts by a peninsular, its 
summit being two hundred and thirty feet above the level of the 
Little Miami. On the verge of the ravine the embankment is 
raised, and winds around the spurs and re-enters to pass the 
heads of gullies, and in several places it is carried down into 
ravines from fifty to one hundred feet deep. 

(2.) The Walls. — The fortification is a strong one. Where 
the work is most exposed to an enemy it is of the greatest solid- 
ity and strength. At the isthmus the walls are twenty feet high. 
Where the Chillicothe road enters from the west the walls are 
fourteen feet high and sixty feet base. There are over seventy 
gateways. These openings appear to have been originally ten 
to fifteen feet in width. It has been suggested that some of 
these gateways were once occupied by block houses or bastions. 
Although the wall is chiefly built of earth. gathered from the 
adjacent surface and from the interior ditch, it is partially under- 
lined with stone. One of the most interesting facts is the differ- 
ent methods adopted for defending the more easy approaches. 
Here the wall is of ordinary height, but the ridge immediately 
outside is cut down several feet, so as to present a steep slope. 
This gives the appearance of a terrace a few feet below the wall. 
In reference to the terrace, there are important features, The 
isthmus just north of the so-called large mounds is undefended. 
This fact, as well as the difference in the construction of the 
walls of the different parts, has led certain persons to the con- 
clusion that there were two forts, oue called the " old" fort and 
the other the " new". 

(3.) The Terraces. — One terrace is located in the wildest re- 
gion. It is situated in the southeast portion of the old fort. The 
terrace is covered with stone graves, the contents and construc- 
tion of which have been described by Mr. Warren K. Moore- 
head. At the southwest there are two large terraces, between 



the top and bottom of the hill. These terraces are supposed by 
many to have been merely natural, but by Squier and Davis, 
Moorehead and others they are thought to be artificial. It has 

been suggested that they were designed as stations from which 
to annoy an enemy. Mr. Moorehead dwells upon the terraces 
of the region, maintaining that they are all artificial. He gives 
the entire length of these terraces as amounting to ten miles. 
They are from twenty to twenty- five feet wide, and run along the. 


hillsides with surprising regularity of height, and have the ap- 
pearance of structures designed for a purpose. 

(4.) The gateways of Fort Ancient are among its most import- 
ant features. There are seventy-four of these, and they differ 
greatly in their dimensions. Some of them are thirty feet wide 
at the top and ten feet at the base ; others are twenty feet at the 
top and five feet at the base. The wall of either side is always 
sloping. In many places there are large quantities of stone at 
the ends of the walls. These stones lie in a confused mass, but 
it is supposed that they were used as a wall to hold and strengthen 
the embankment. The position of the gateways is also to be 
noticed. It appears that some of them open out upon the ter- 
races; others open to the road leading down the hill, which is 
now occupied by the pike. One to the east opens out to the 
prairie region, but it is guarded by two conical mounds, and in- 
stead of furnishing a passage-way to the open country, only leads 
to the long, narrow covered way which extends from this point 
to the east. 

The Great Gateway. — The gateway is situated between the 
two forts. Here two mounds about twenty feet high and ten 
feet apart leave just space enough for a wagon to pass between 
them. At their base is a raised platform four feet in height. 
When examined it was found to contain many human bones. 
Outside of the gateway, in the space between the two forts, for a 
considerable distance, there is no embankment, the ravines here 
having a steep angle and coming very near together, so as to 
make a narrow passage way. All about this gateway are masses 
of stone. These must have been piled up in the form of a rude 
wall to strengthen the base of the embankment. Here the em- 
bankment is the steepest of the entire earth-work. The stones 
are on the outside of the wall . "From the great gateway the two 
walls which constitute the old fort greatly diverge. The wall 
running east swings around to the south; the other wall runs in 
a very irregular manner and is more tortuous than any other 
portion of the entire structure." This is the place where we 
recognize the snake effigy. 

Other gateways are found at intervals on the different sides of 
the fort. The supposition of Squier and Davis is that some of 
these were formerly occupied by bastions and block houses. The 
so-called east gateway is the one which forms the direct entrance. 
It is a remarkable feature of the fort. It consists of two large 
conical mounds, which seem to have been placed at the openings 
both as guards and as lookouts. The dimensions of these 
mounds is given as twelve feet in height and eighty feet in diam- 
eter. Between these two mounds is a pavement laid with lime- 
stone. The use of the pavement is conjectural. Some of the 
stones give evidence of having been subjected to the action of 
fire. The area of the pavement is said to be 130x500 feet. 


(5.) The Covered Ways. — Running due northeast from these 
two mounds are two parallel walls or embankments, about a foot 
in height and twelve feet wide. They run for a distance of 2760 
feet and terminate by enclosing a small mound, about three feet 
high. They are 130 feet apart. A suggestion has been made 
in reference to these, that they were used as a race-ground, and 
that the wall at the end was the goal or turning point. Our 
conjecture is that the mound was a lookout station, and that the 
walls were designed to protect the sentinels and to keep open 
communication between the fort and signal station. 

(6) The Isthmus. — The division of the fort into two enclos- 
ures has been noticed, A peninsula joins the two forts. This 
has been called the "isthmus." The isthmus, however, seems to 
be a sort of middle fort. Here we find crescent-shaped embank- 
ments on one side and a great gateway on the other. "The space 
is well enclosed, and is one of the strongest positions of the en- 
tire fortification." The crescent gateway, on account of its beauty 
and the curve of its walls, may be regarded as belonging to the 
new fort. The other so-called gateway may be regarded as be- 
longing to the old fort. Here the question of symbolism comes 
in. We have said that the walls of the old fort resemble two 
massive serpents, and that the mounds at the end, which consti- 
tute the sides of the gateway, represented the heads of the 
serpents. We now maintain that the crescents forming the 
gateway to the middle fort were also symbolic, and at the isth- 
mus we find the clue to the character of the builders of the two 
forts. There is a crescent-shaped embankment near the western 
opening to the new fort. This we also regard as symbolic. We 
conjecture that the new fort was erected by the sun-worshipers 
and the old fort by the serpent-worshipers.* 

(7.) In reference to the old enclosure, it appears almost certain 
that a large village once flourished within this fort. The wall is 
much more irregular than in the new fort. The terrace on the 
east side of the gateway has many stone graves. The stone 
graves are generally outside of the walls, "The terraces on the 
west side have scattered graves on them." Large quantities of 
stone were placed over the graves, one hundred wagon-loads in 
one place and forty in another. In the river valley below Fort 
Ancient was a village site. Ash-heaps were discovered here, 
and also many relics of a rude population. Five feet of earth 
were above the lowest site of the village. Well preserved skele- 
tons have been found. "Three village periods have been recog- 
nized, and the mingling of two races seems to be indicated by 
the relics." The new fort was evidently built by a people more 
advanced than those of the old fort. The walls are much more 
skillfully constructed, have more perpendicular sides, sharper 
angles, wider gateways, and give more evidence of workmanship. 

♦Illustrations of the different parts of this fort are given by Mr. W. K. Moorehead 


3. The fortified hill in Butler County is another specimen of a 
" Hill Fort". This is situated on the west side of the Great 
Miami River, three miles below the Hamilton. The hill is not 
far from two hundred feet high, surrounded on all points by- 
deep ravines, presenting steep and almost inaccessible declivi- 
ties, skirting the brow of the hill and conforming to its outline. 
Its wall is of mingled earth and stone, having an average height 
of five feet, by thirty-five feet base. The wall is interrupted by 
four gateways or passages, each twenty feet wide. They are 
protected by inner Hnes of embankments of a most singular and 
intricate description. 

The gateways in this fort are its distinguishing peculiarity. 
It will be noticed from the plate that they occur where the spurs 
of the hill are cut off b}' the wall or parapet and where the de- 
clivity is the least abrupt. Two of them have the inner walls 
arranged after the same manner, with re-entering angles, curved 
walls, narrow passage-ways, excavations in the passage-ways. 
It will be noticed also that there are stone mounds on the sum- 
mit of the hill near the gateways. 

This style of gateway has been called the Tlascalan, as it is 
common among the Tlascalans and the Aztecs. The ends of 
the wall overlap each other, in the form of semi-circles having 
a common center. The northern gateway is especially worthy 
of notice. The principal approach is guarded by a mound, 
which was used perhaps as an alarm post. A crescent wall or 
embankment crosses the isthmus, leavmg narrow passages be- 
tween its ends and the declivity. Next comes the principal 
wall of the enclosure. Within this are two crescent-shaped 
embankments, placed between two prolongations of the walls, 
making a series of defenses so complicated as to distract and 
bewilder the assailants. 

The stone mounds or beacons are to be noticed in this con- 
nection. These mounds are placed on the summit of the hill 
at the very entrance of the gateways. Similar stone mounds 
are found elsewhere, and they form a striking feature of the 
" Hill Forts". It is probable that they were used as beacons 
and that fires were lighted upon them. 

The height of the ground is also to be noticed. It gradually 
rises from the interior to the height of twenty-six feet above the 
base of the wall, and overlooks the entire adjacent country. In 
the vicinity of this work are a number of others occupying the 
valley. The location of this fort will be seen by a study of the 
map of the works on the Great Miami. 

4. Another " Hill Fort" that may be mentioned is represented 
on the same map. It is situated at the mouth of the Miami, six 
miles from Hamilton. It occupies the summit of a steep, iso- 
lated hill, and consists of a wall composed of earth thrown from 
the interior. The three sides are as nearly perpendicular as 
they could be. The wall corresponds to the outline of the hill, 



but it cuts off a spur, leaving a promontory outside the walls. 
On this promontory is a mound, corresponding in its purpose 
with that which guards the principal avenue in the fortified hill 
just described. This fort was visited by Gen. Harrison and was 
regarded by him as admirably designed for defense, exhibiting 
extraording militar}' skill and as a citadel to be compared to the 
Acropolis at Athens. 

5. Two " Hill Forts" remain to be described. One of these 
is situated on the Big Twin, near Farmersville. It has been de- 
scribed by Mr. S. H. Brinkley. Its form is an irregular triangle, 



Fig. 7.— Farmersville Fort. 

two sides resting upon the margins of wide ravines, the third 
on the Big Twin. The wall extends along the edge of the 
ravine; it is five feet high and forty feet wide; is flanked by a 
ditch on the inside. The entire length is two hundred and sixty- 
seven feet. There are three enclosures within this fort; two in 
the shape of horse-shoes; the third is a small circle. One of 
the horse-shoe enclosures has a diameter of three hundred and 
eighty feet north and south, four hundred feet east and west. 
The diameter of the other is one hundred and eighty-five feet 
and one hundred in width. The circle is but twenty-five feet 
in diameter. It is placed at the entrance of tne larger enclosure, 
which is here forty feet wide. See Fig. 7. 

These remarkable enclosures have been excavated and found 
to contain fire-beds or hearths filled with charcoal and ashes. 


The supposition is that these hearths marked the sites of lodges. 
The shape of the enclosure is remarkable. It reminds us of the 
horse-shoes at Portsmouth, Ohio. What is strange is that a 
stone object wrought out of dark shale, with an exact represen- 
tation of a horse-shoe upon it, was found in an adjacent field. 

The gateway to the horse-shoe enclosure is noticeable. It is 
an exact circle twenty-five feet in diameter. This circle was 
placed at the entrance of the enclosure, partially filling the 
space, the entire opening being forty feet; but the circle took 
a little more than twenty-five feet, leaving a space or passage 
way on either side of it. Mr. Brinkley's idea is that the circle 
was the council house and that the horse-shoe enclosure was the 
place of residence. This is plausible, and yet it is the only en- 
closure of the kind which has-been discovered. The other fort 
which Mr. Brinkley has described is also situated on the Big 
Twin, a tributarv of the Great Miami. Its location is on a hill 
or bluff near Carlisle, so it has been called Carlisle Fort. See 
Ficr. 8. The work comprises two distinct enclosures. The 
eastern division contains about nine acres, the western about six 
acres; the eastern division is protected by the precipitous bluffs 
which border upon the Big Twin, or rather which overlook the 
bottom lands or terrace of the Big Twin. On the north and 
south there are deep ravines, which protect it on those sides. 
The space between the two enclosures is made secure by a re- 
markable combination of walls in the form of a symetncal cres- 
cent, three successive lines stretching, in graceful bends, from 
one ravine to the other, leaving a space between of forty feet 
and sixty-five feet, measured at the middle point. The inner 
wall is continued along the crest of the ravine, and forms a cir- 
cumvallation for the fort. The length of the erescent-shaped 
wall is about four hundred and fifty feet; the height was origi- 
nally about five feet. The western enclosure is protected by a 
ravine which passes around three sides of it. On the summit, 
overlooking this, there is a circumvallation, which is about three 
hundred and fifty yards in length and encloses about six acres. 
At a point between the two forts there is a ravine which parti- 
ally separates them, but from which a spring flows into the 
bottom land. Above this ravine is a wall, which protects the 
western fort, and near the wall two circular enclosures, which 
seem to have formed guards to the gateway or entrance to the 
fort, though they may have had connection with the spring be- 
low. In the eastern division there was a stone enclosure, sev- 
enty-eight feet in length and forty-five feet in breadth, in the 
shape of a horse shoe, with a return at each corner, leaving an 
open space one-third of the width, fronting the east. The ob- 
ject of this horse-shoe enclosure is unknown. Mr. Brinkley 
thinks it was the foundation of a building, but of this there are 
no proofs. We would here call attention to the resemblance of 
Carlisle Fort to that at Fort Ancient. It is a double fort, the 



two enclosures being separated by an isthmus, guarded by triple 
crescent-shaped walls. The entrance to this fort is by a path 
consisting of a most delightful promenade, which leads by an 
easy grade from the fort to the terrace. "The promenade is 
located on a ridge, but improved by the plastic hand of man." 
This promenade is on the side which leads to the Big Twin. One 
remarkable feature of this gateway is that near it there was a 
signal station or 
lookout mound and 
not far from the 
mound a pavement 
or fire-bed, beneath 
which were traces 
of fire. 

This hearth or 
fire-bed is worthy 
of notice. The evi- 
dence is that here, 
as at the Farmers- 
ville Fort, there 
were fire signals. 
The walls near the 
gateway show this 
as well as the pave- 
ment. Near the 
Big Twin works 
there was a trun- 
cated mound thir- 
teen feet high and 
a pavement ninety 
feet square. Near 
this pavement were 
ashpiles, which had 
been poured over 
the sides ot the clift, 
until they had at- 
tained a depth of 
ten feet. The sym- ^'^- ^-c«^'^'^ ^ort. 

holism connected with these forts is somewhat remarkable. 
Here we have the fire at one end of the fort and the water sup- 
ply at the other; the hearths or pavements connected with one 
and circles connected with the other. The horse-shoe symbol 
is contained in the shape of the bluff itself and in the stone en- 
closure on '^he summit of the bluff. 

IV. We now come to another class of strongholds, namely 
the "Stone Forts." These forts -resemble the "Hill Forts" and 
may, by some, be regarded as identical. We classify the 
stone forts separately. Our reasons for so doing are as fol- 
lows: (i) They seem to be more advanced in their style and 


mode of construction. Wherever they are located they are 
always characterized by the same feature. They are generally 
situated on eminences, where there are rocky precipices. (2.) In 
several cases the precipices are veneered with artificial walls 
which make a barrier against the wash of streams and furnish 
a foundation to the walls above. (2.) The gateways of the stone 
forts are frequently quite elaborate. The wall is generally 
four or five feet high and varies from twenty to thirty feet wide 
at the base. It is sometimes laid up in regular order, making a 
smooth even front with sharp angles, but generally is merely in 
the form of an irregular pile of stone, and resembles an earth 
wall, except that the material is difTerent. The question has 
arisen whether the wall was surmounted by a stockade; on this 
point there is uncertainty. The stone walls generally conform 
to the nature of the ground. Stones were employed because 
they could be readily procured, although the hammer had noth- 
ing to do with the preparation of the materials, yet there is 
evidence of great labor and the place of location is selected 
with a military eye.* 

The stone forts may properly be considered as belonging to 
the village Mound-builders, and perhaps were designed as es- 
pecial retreats for the villagers. It will be noticed, at least, that 
in Ohio this kind of fort is frequently situated in the midst of 
square enclosures, so giving evidence that they were built by 
the same people. f In the Miami Valley there is a square en- 
closure on the terrace, and the fort is on the hill near by. So 
with the fort at Bourneville. This is situated in the midst of the 
valley of Paint Creek, and was surrounded by enclosures, which 
we have imagined to be villages of the sun-worshipers. The 
same is true of the fort on Massie's Creek, near the Big Miami 
River. The stone fort near Manchester, Tennessee, and that of 
Duck Creek, of the same state, may be regarded as specimens; 
yet these were located near the walled villages of the Stone- 
grave people and may have been built by that people. The 
same may be said of the stone fort ot Southern Indiana. This 
last fort was located on the Ohio, somewhat remote from the 
region of the "sacred enclosure," so called, but there are on 
the White River many earth-works which resemble those on 
the Scioto, and so we place this stone fort among the works of 
the sun-worshipers. 

The subject ot symbolism comes in here. It is to be noticed 
that two of the forts" — Bourneville and Massie's Creek, in South- 
ern Ohio — have walls in the shape of crescents, with mounds 
between the walls. Our conjecture is that these were designed 
as symbols. This last fort is beautifully situated on a hill-top, but 
is attended with a large square enclosure situated in the valley. 
The fort has a series of gateways guarded by conical mounds, 

♦Haywood's Tennessee. 

tSee map of Miami Valley; also of Paint Creek and the Scioto. 



and an outer wall, divided into four sections, in the shape of 
crescents. See Fig. 9. The enclosure jis nearly square, and 
is attended with several earth embankments, which are also in 
the shape ot crescents. The impression gained is that here 
was a settlement of sun-worshipers. 

The difTerence in the symbolism of the forts is to be noticed 
in this connection. The Hill Forts, if they contain any symbol- 
ism, contain that of serpent-worship; but the Stone Forts illus- 
trate the symbolism of the sun-worshipers. The Hill Forts 
were generally located in a wild or rough hill country — a coun- 
try which was probably occupied by hunters. The Stone Forts 

No. 9— Stone Fori on Massie's Creek. 

were generally located in regions favorable for agriculture and 
are surrounded by evidences of a numerous population; a pop- 
ulation which was given to agriculture. With these conjectures 
we proceed to a description of the specific forts. 

I. One of the best specimens of the stone forts is at Bourne- 
ville. See Plate VI. The description of this is given by Squier 
and Davis. It occupies the summit ot a lofty, detached hill 
twelve miles west of Chillicothe. The hill is not far from forty 
feet in height. It is remarkable for the abruptness of its sides. 
It projects midway into the broad valley of Paint Creek, and is 
a conspicuous object from every point of view. The defenses 
consist of a wall of stone, which is carried around the hill a 


little below the brow, cutting off the spurs, but extending across 
the neck that connects the hill with the range beyond. The 
wall is a rude one, giving little evidence that the stones were 
placed upon one another so as to present vertical faces, though 
at a tew points the arrangement lends to the belief that the wall 
may have been regularly faced on the exterior. Upon the west- 
ern side, or steepest face of the hill, the stones are placed so as to 
resemble a protection wall. The}'^ were probably so placed to 
prevent the creek from washing away the hill and undermining 
the fort. Upon the eastern face, where the declivity is least 
abrupt, the wall is heavy and resembles a stone heap of fifteen 
or twenty feet base and four feet high. Where it crosses the 
isthmus it is heaviest. The isthmus is seven hundred feet wide. 
Here the wall has three gateways. 

The gateways are formed by curving inward the ends of the 
wall for forty or fifty feet, leaving narrow passages not exceed- 
ing eight feet in width. At other points where there are jutting 
ridges are similar gateways, though at one point a gateway 
seems to have been for some reason closed up. At the gateways 
the amount of stone is more than quadruple the quantity at 
other points, constituting broad, mound-shaped heaps. 

These stone mounds exhibit the marks of intense heat, which 
has vitrified the surfaces of the stones and fused them together. 
Strong traces of fire are visible at other places on the wall, par- 
ticularly at F, the point commanding the broadest extent of 
country. Here are two or three small stone mounds that seem 
burned throughout. Nothing is more certain than that power- 
ful fires have been maintained for considerable periods at num- 
erous points on the hill. There are several depressions or 
reservoirs, one of which covers about two acres and furnishes 
a supply of water estimated as adequate to the wants of a thou- 
sand head of cattle. The area enclosed within this fort is some- 
thing over one hundred and forty aces, and the line of wall 
measures upwards of two and a quarter miles. Most of the 
wall and a large portion of the area was covered with a heavy 
primitive forest. Trees of the largest size grew on the line, 
twisting the roots among the stones. The stones were of all 
sizes, and were abundant enough to have formed walls eight 
feet thick. In the magnitude of the area enclosed, this work 
exceeds any hill-work now known in the country, although less 
in length than that of Fort Ancient. It evinces great labor and 
bears the impress of a numerous people. The valley in which 
it is situated was a favorite one with the race of Mound-builders, 
and the hill overlooks a number of extensive groups of ancient 

2. The stone fortifications in Clark County, Ind. This is a 
very interesting fort, situated at the mouth of Fourteen-mile 
Creek, on the Ohio River, at the point of an elevated, narrow 
ridge, which faces the river on one side and the creek on the 



Other. This fort presents many new and strange features. 
The ridge is pear-shaped, with a narrow point to the north, the 
broad part toward the river. It is two hundred and eighty feet 
above the level of the Ohio, though at the south end there is a 
terrace which is sixty feet above the river. Along the greater 
part of the river front there is an abrupt escarpment of rock, 
too steep to be scaled, and a similar barrier on the side facing 
the creek. This natural wall is supplemented on the north side 
by an artificial stone wall made by piling up loose stone without 
mortar. It is about one hundred and fifty feet long. It is built 
along the slope of the hill and had an elevation of about seventy- 
five feet above its base, the upper ten feet being vertical. The 
inside of the wail is protected by a ditch. The ridge on the 
south and southwest sides, or the broad end of the pear, is also 
protected by an artificial wall, built in the same way, but not 
more than ten feet high. The elevation of the side wall above 
the creek bottom is eighty feet. This artificial wall is supple- 
mented by a string of mounds which abut against the wall on 
the inside, but which rise to the height of the wall throughout 
its entire length. Within the fort there is a ditch twenty feet 
wide and four feet deep, which separates the mounds from the 
enclosure, or rather from the ridge, on the summit of whieh the 
fort was supposed to be. The top of the enclosed ridge em- 
braced ten or twelve acres. There are as many as five mounds 
that can be recognized on the flat surface. One near the nar- 
rowest part (the stem of the pear) was so situated as to command 
an extensive view up and down the Ohio River, as well as an 
unobstructed view across the river and a creek, both east and 
west. It is designated as Lookout mound. 

The locality afforded many natural advantages for a fort or 
stronghold. Much skill was displayed in rendering its defense 
as perfect as possible at all points. One feature about the fort 
is unique. The wall is made up both of stone and earth, the 
stone forming a shield to the earth wall, part way up on the 
inside, and completely to the summit on the outside, the two 
together forming an elevated platform which overlooked the 
steep bank below, and ofTered an excellent opportunity for de- 
fense. The wall, and accompanying mound or earth-work, is 
situated below the summit of the ridge on an escarpment of 
rock, with a ditch on the inside, so that there was a double de- 
fense, the wall itself serving as an outwork, and the sides of 
the ridge inside forming a second barrier fordefense. Prof. Cox 
says of this fort: "In the natural advantages of the location and 
in the execution of the bold plans conceived by the engineers 
of a primitive people, this fortification surpasses any which has 
yet been found in the State. The walls around the enclosure, 
w^hich fill up the protected spaces, are generally ten feet high, 
but at a naturally weak point on the northwest part the gap 
was closed by a wall that from the outer case to the top was 


seventy-five feet high. From the summit of the ridge, which is 
two hundred and fifty feet above the river, one can look over the 
beautiful scenery for a stretch of eight or ten miles up or down 
the Ohio River." 

(3.) Prof Cox speaks of a second fort or enclosure, on the 
spur of a ridge skirting Big Creek, m Jefferson County. "The 
ridge is protected on the north and south by a natural chff, 
sixty-five to eighty feet high. Across the narrow neck of the 
spur of the ridge were two artificial stone walls, one seventy- 
five feet long and twelve feet wide, and the other four hundred 
and twenty-five feet long, leaving an enclosure between the 
walls of twelve acres. "The site of this ancient dwelling-place, 
like all others visited, affords an extended view for many miles 
over the country, north, east and south." Three stone mounds 
formerly could be seen, near this fort, upon level ground. One 
of them is called the e^g mound, on account of its shape. "Stone 
was hauled from these mounds for building foundations, fire- 
places and chimneys for all the houses for miles around." "From 
the great fortified town at the mouth of Fourteen-mile Creek 
to the fortification at Big Creek, a distance of about thirty miles, 
there appeared to be a line of antiquities, that mark the dwell- 
ing-places of intermediate colonies; and these, when pushed to 
extremes by an invading foe, may have sought protection in the 
strongholds at either end of the line."* 

V. A fifth mode of defense is the one to which we now call 
attention. It consists in the system of "walled towns" or villages. 

We call them, for the sake of convenience, "walled towns". 
This is a significant term. It reminds us of the "walled towns" 
of the ancient and mediaeval times, and suggests the idea that 
these may have been the outgrowth of such villages as pre- 
vailed in prehistoric times. We are to notice their peculiarities. 
Their peculiarities were : (i.) The villages were surrounded 
by walls, but were permanent residences. (2.) The villages were 
surrounded by ditches, sometimes upon the outside of the wall 
and sometimes on the inside. (3.) The rpajority of these walled 
villages had some high pyramid or domiciliary mound, which 
answered in a rude way to the temples. (4.) There was always 
a lookout mound in connection with the walled village, which 
served the same purpose as a tower. (5.) In many of the walled 
villages the domiciliary mound was located in the midst of the 
lodge circles, tiie arrangement of the lodges being around a 
square, the chief 's house being in the square. (5.) Burial mounds 
are frequently found in these villages. These contain the great- 
est store of relics, giving the idea that care for the property as 
well as for the remains of the dead, was one element of village 
life. Let us consider the different classes: 

Among the hunter tribes the walled village embodied it- 

*See Geological Report for 1874, p. 36. 



self in the stockade, a single enclosure constituting the defense. 
Among the sun-worshipers the walled villages contained three 
enclosures, though the object of these enclosures is now un- 
known. Some have accounted for these enclosures by imagin- 
ing that the square was designed for the residence of the chiefs, 
corresponding to the public square of the southern Indians. The 
larger circle was the residence ot the people, and included the 
corn-fields and kitchen gardens, while the small circle was the 
residence of the priest or medicine man. Among the stone grave 
people the walled village consisted of a wall, without bastions, 


Fig. 10,— A Mandan Fort. 

surrounding the village in the form of a semi-circle. Within this 
wall is found a series of earth-works — pyramids, cones, burial 
mounds, etc. These are very common in Tennessee. They 
may be called the mountain villages, or their builders may 
be called the mountain mound-builders. We give this name to 
them, not because they are on the mountams but because they 
are in a mountainous region, the Appalachian range being 
the only mountains in the Mississippi valley, or in other words, 
the only mountains in the Mound-builders' territory. 

Another class of walled villages is the one found in Arkan- 
sas, among the cypress swamps. It consists of a square enclos- 
ure with an earth wall on all sides, the enclosure being filled 



with lodge circles arranged in rows around an open square. In 
these villages there are large domiciliary mounds in the shape 
of pyramids, and many comical mounds. There is a resem- 
blance between these villages and those of Tennessee; the 
shape of the enclosure is the main point of difference. A spec- 
imen of the fourth class of walled villages is found at Savannah, 
Tennessee. This is a square shaped enclosure. A peculiarity 
of it is the wall is built with bastions or redoubts resembling 
those of modern forts. 

We will illustrate the subject by specimens of walled villages, 
(i.) The first is one common among the Indians, such as the 
Mandans. This consisted in a mere group of lodges arranged 
around a square. Some of the Mandan villages seem to have 
had walls with bastions. See Fig. lo. This reminds us of the 

Fig. ll.—Walled Town on the Big Harpeih. 

ancient village called Aztalan, in Wisconsin, which also had 
bastions and outworks. (2.) The villages found in the State of 
Tennessee. Mr. Jones says, "On the southwestern side of the 
Big Harpeth River, about two and a half miles from Frank- 
lin, Tennessee, is an earth-work which encloses about thirty- 
two acres of land. See Fig. 11. It is in the form of a 
crescent, which is 3,800 feet in length, situated on a perpendic- 
ular bluff forty feet above the waters edge. It was admirably 
chosen for defense. Within the earth-works are nine mounds, 
the largest, marked A, resembles a parallelogram two hundred 
and thirty feet in length, ten feet in breadth and sixteen feet in 
height. The remaining mounds vary from one hundred to 
twenty-five feet in diameter and one to four feet in height." 
The large oblong mound contained an altar with ashes and 
charcoal resting on it; this is near the original surface of the 
earth, and the mound seemed to have been erected upon the 
ahar. Four mounds, marked B, C, D and F, also contained evi- 




dence of hot fires in a red burnt stratum, resembling brick in 
hardness. The tort represented in the cut, Fig. ii, is also 
situated on the Big Harpeth, about six miles from Franklin. 
This fort contains twelve acres. It has a crescent-shaped wall 
surrounding it, 2,470 feet in length. There are two pyramids 
at one side of the enclosure. One of them (A) is 65 x 112 
feet at the base and eleven feet high; the other (B) is 60 x 70 
feet at the base and nine feet high. This enclosure contains a 
large number of stone graves, arranged in rows at either side 
of the village. The probability is that the lodge sites of the 
villagers were contained within this fort, and the pyramids 


marked the sites of the houses of the chiefs, the burial place 
Many such stockade forts have been found in Tennessee. 
They contain but one enclosure, and in this respect differ from 
the walled villages, or sacred enclosures, of Ohio, many ot 
which have three enclosures connected with one another, as 
well as covered ways, joined by parallel walls, which connect 
the enclosures with streams, the fields, and sometimes with the 
dance circles. 

Descriptions of these stockade villages have been furnished 
by Gen. G. P. Thruston in his book on "The Antiquities of 
Tennessee," by Prof. F. W. Putnam in the Reports of the 
Peabody Museum, and xMr. Joseph Jones in his work on "The 
Aboriginal Remains of Tennessee." They were not the only 


forts, for Mr. Jones has described a stone fort on Duck Creek, 
though it had been previously described by Mr. Haywood. He 

The wall is composed of loose rocks, the fortification is from four to 
ten feet high. Where the bluff is steep, the wall ceases. The fort is on 
the bluff, or on a tongue of land, between two forks of a stream, and is 
separated from the main land by a gullev, 60 feet in depth and 40 to 100 
feet wide, and a high limestone ridge, called the "Backbone." Outside of 
the guUey, the entrance to the fort resembles that which was common in the 
stone forts of Ohio, as there are parallel walls which extend into the en- 
closure; one of which bends at right angles, thus making a cul-de-sac, 
Defensive towers, about sixteen feet square and ten feet high, made of stone, 
are situated at the opening to the fort. Many relics were found in this fort, 
among them a remarkable stone pipe, carved in the shape of a hawk. 
Images, or idols, representing human figures — male and female — have been 
found in a rock mound near Pulaski, and many pottery vessels, having the 
human form, either seated or kneeling, generally with the face upturned, 
but with retreating foreheads, 

An explanation of these idols and vessels is found in the 
fact that the Choctaws flatten the foreheads of the children, 
making them resemble the Flatheads of Oregon though they, 
with the Chickesaws, formerly occupied the region now em- 
braced by the Gulf States, including that west of the Cumber- 
land River. They probably were the occupants of these stock- 
ade forts, and left the idols and pottery relics in the region. 
Idols resembling them have been found in the mounds and 
scattered over the village sites of the South. The Natchez 
occupied the banks of the Mississippi River to the west, but 
were mainly confined to the west side. 

Du Pratz. who lived among the Natchez, says that their ter- 
ritory extended from the sea to the Wabash River, and that 
they practised human sacrifices similar to the Aztecs, and had 
retreating foreheads, like the Toltecs, who weresun-worshippers. 

There is no region that has such a variety of relics, as that 
in which are found the stone graves and the stockade villages. 
There are paint cups, and chunkey-stones, and discs, besides 
many spool ornaments and copper implements of various kinds, 
but the engraved shell gorgets are the most mteresting. These 
contain symbols of the sun, moon and stars; also circles, looped, 
squares with a cross in the center and birds' heads projecting 
from the sides; also coiled serpents, and many other figures. 
Here pottery impressed with fabrics, shows the pattern of the 
weaving. Spinning whorls are also common. 

The evidence is that the villages, or stockade forts, were 
connected with one another and in harmony, while the open 
land was used for hunting and, perhaps, for agricultural pur- 
poses, but there was no such attempt to protect the people as 
they went to and fro from the villages, as was common in south- 
ern Ohio. Another peculiarity of the stockade villages was 
that many of them contained pyramids, which were probably 
occupied by the chiefs and ruling classes, resembling the 
pyramids in the Gulf States. 







Prof. Putnam speaks of some of these pyramids as present- 
ing the traces of council houses, or great houses. Some of 
them show a succession of such houses, giving the idea that 
they had been burned and rebuilt, but with intervals of time 
between them. 

There are other forts in this region which resemble the well- 
known fort at Aztlan in Wisconsin, as they are built in rect- 
angular shape, open on the river banks, and are furnished with 
bastions, which project from the wall, but there are no efifigies 
near them. 

VI. There are villages in Arkansas and Missouri which are 
situated in the midst of the cypress swamps, but resemble in 
man)' respects those just described. They contain a large num- 
ber of hut rings, or lodge circles, arranged generally m rows, 
but leaving an open space in the center, with pyramid mounds 

tm^ «w. Airt.K.^ 

Uotik Cm^C^p9f 


Swamp Village iVilh Defence!: and Lodge Circles. 

in the midst of the rings, and a wall surrounding them, but vviih 
a ditch on the outside of the wall. These villages were de- 
fended in three ways: they were in the midst of the Cypress 
swamps, and were difficult of access, in fact they were hidden 
away in the swamps as thoroughly as the forts were which 
De Soto found in the swamps of Florida; the ditch surrounding 
them resembled those which surrounded the villages of the 
Gulf States; the pyramids inside of the walls furnished a last 
resort to the people in the case of an attack. These walled 
villages were evidently erected by an agricultural people, who 
also gathered subsistence from the wild fruit which grew in 
the swamps, and the fish as well as the birds and animals of 
the forests, and so combined the three kinds of employment 
in one — fishing, hunting and tilling the soil. 

This people were great pottery makers, for a very large 
number of pottery vessels have been found on the village sites, 


some of which have been gathered into the museum iri 
St. Louis, and have been described in the reports of the 
Academy of Sciences in that city. The relics discovered on 
the village sites resemble those found near the great Cahokia 
Mound opposite St. Louis. Among these relics are shell 
gorgets and inscribed plates, which are very interesting, for they 
contain the same symbols as those found in the stone graves 
of Tennessee, and represent the same kind of religion. 

Who they were that occupied these villages is unknown, but 
they had the same method of defense and apparently the same 
form of government as the Stone Grave people, but differed 
mainly in the fact that they were among the Cypress swamps. 
This resemblance of the pottery relics and the shell gorgets to 
those found in the stone graves, refutes the idea that the latter 
were built by the Shawnees, and confirms the supposition that 
the Southern Mound-Builders once extended north as far as 
St. Louis, the mouth of the Ohio and the Wabash, and, perhaps, 
along the valley of the Illinois River, for shell gorgets have 
been found in the latter region, which resemble those found on 
the Cumberland. 

The lodge circles contained in these swamp villages are 
very numerous, and pyramids are always found near them, but 
with an open space or public square in front of the pyramids. 
The pyramids varied from i6 to 20 feet in height, with a base 
of 120 X 250 to 210 to 270 feet, and the summit varying from 
120 X 250 to 1 10 X 165 feet. The burial mounds within the con- 
fines of the settlements contain a large number of bodies, 
generally from lOO to 200. They also contain from 800 to 1,000 
specimens of pottery and other relics. The relics most num- 
erous in these settlements are articles for household use and 
agricultural tools, but there is a scarcity of implements of war. 
Pottery is found in the greatest abundance, also beautiful speci- 
mens of spades and hoes, several engraved shells bearing ti.e 
figures of spiders and human forms and other symbols, but very 
little copper. 

The conclusion which we draw from these facts, is that the 
mound-building tribes all dwelt in villages, but had different 
methods of defence, — methods which were best adapted to the 
region occupied, for those who dwelt in the hill country had 
what are called " Hill P'orts"; those who dwelt upon the river 
banks and in the midst of forests, surrounded their villages 
with stockades; those in the midst of swamps depended upon 
their isolation, yet all continued their village life, notwith- 
standing the dangers by which they were surrounded. 





We have undertaken in this chapter to give a map of the re- 
ligion of the Mound-builders. To some it may seem to be a 
Utopian scheme, only based upon speculation, but we maintain 
that the effort is not only useful in giving us more definite con- 
ceptions of the different phases of that religion, but in reality is 
correct in its classification. The following particulars will show 
this : 1 . The religious systems in the map correspond to the ethnic 
divisions of the Mound-builders' territory which we have already 
made. These divisions indicate that there were different races 
occupying different districts, and the present view not only con- 
firms this, but indicates that the races had systems of religion 
which were distinct and different from one another. 

2. The classification of the religious system corresponds with 
that of the works and relics, and so proves that the religious cult 
had much to do in giving them their special characteristics. 

3. The map shows that there was a progress in the jeli;jious 
cult which corresponded to the other lines of progress made by 
the Mound-builders. The different stages of progress may be 
recognized in each district as we pass over their territory. 
The northern districts were evidently occupied by totemistic 
hunter tribes; their works consist mainly of burial mounds, animal 
effigies and the remains of stockades of forts and villages. The 
middle districts by a class of agriculturist'?, who were evidently 
sun worshipers; their works consist of three classes — pyramids, 
sacred enclosures and large mounds which contain chambered 
tombs. 1 he southern districts by sedentary tribes, who were 
pyramid-builders and sun worshipers, and who were idolaters. 

4. The different phases of nature worship given by this map 
have been recognized among historic races. We maintain that 
they really originated among prehistoric races. Some of these 
are rude and primitive, but they wonderfully illustrate the sys- 
tems that prevailed in ancient times, and help us to understand 
the origin and growth of the different historic faiths. They seem 
to be mere superstitions and unregulated fancies of rude savages; 
but in them we find the beginnings of that extensive system 
which grew into so many elaborate faiths and forms. We are thus 
brought to the threshold of a great mystery and into the midst of 
a deep problem, the whole field of comparative religions having 


suddenly opened before our vision, and the relation of man's 
religion to his environment rising like a mountain in the back- 

5. There was evidently a supra-naturalism among the native 
races, which was dim and shadowy, but as, among the Mound- 
builders, it embodied itself in the relics and in the earth-works 
it becomes an object of study, and so we may define each phase 
by referring to these material forms. We do not claim that any 
one system was exclusive of all others, for the systems are often 
mingled together; yet there was such a predominance of one 
over the other that we may take the map as a fair picture of the 
different systems. The complications are, to be sure, numerous 
and the tokens varied, but the geographical divisions separate 
them suflSciently and we may actually decide what the character- 
istic of each cult was. 

6. The religious sentiment was strong avnong the native races of 
America. It seems to have manifested itself in different ways in 
different localities, showing that it was everywhere subject to 
the influence of climate, soil, scenery, and physical surround- 
ings. It largely partook of the character of nature worship, but 
obeyed the law of natural development. If we take a map of 
the continent and 'draw lines across it, somewhat correspond- 
ing to the lines of latitude, we will find that this map not only 
represents the different climates and occupations, but the re- 
ligions of the aborigines. What is more, these different religions 
will embrace nearly all of those systems which have been 
ascribed to nature worship : Shamanism prevailing among the 
ice fields of the north ; animism having its chief abode in the 
forest belt; totemism, its chief sway among the hunter tribes 
that inhabited the country near the chain of the great lakes; 
serpent worship in the middle district; sun worship among the 
southern tribes, and an advanced stage of the nature worship 
among the civilized races of the southwest. 

The divisions in the map correspond with the divisions of 
various Indian tribes or races, which are known to have inhab- 
ited the country at the time of the opening of history, thus 
showing that there were ethnic causes that produced the differ- 
ent systems of religion among them. There is a wonderful 
correspondence between the systems which prevailed in the 
modern Indian and the mound-building period, showing that the 
native races were affected by their surroundings. 

7. In reference to the geography of the religion of the Mound- 
builders, we conclude that the key is found in the physical envi- 
ronment. If among them there was a system illustrating the 
stages through which religion passes on its way to the higher 
historic faiths, this corresponded to the social status, grades of 
progress and geographical districts among the Mound-builders, 
and is to be studied in the material relics and tokens which are 



to be found in the different districts. The picture which is pre- 
sented by the larger map is concentrated into a smaller compass, 
the different forms of nature worship having embodied themselves 
in the works and relics of this mysterious people. Here then 
we have a schedule by which we may classify the different sys- 
tems as they appear before us. Recognizing the various aborig- 
nal religions in the different districts, we find in them the various 
phases of nature worship, and so can follow that worship through 
its different stages. 

The order of succession in the line of growth, would be about 
as follows : We find a trace of animism predominating among 
the wild tribes, which consisted in giving a soul to everything, 
but this prevailing among the Mound-builders led them to erect 
many chambered mounds and to take great care in depositing 
relics in them. 

The same animal worship that led the native tribes to the recog- 

Fiij. 1 — Mound on the Iowa River. 

nition of the animals as their divinities led the Mound-builders 
to erect animal effigies on the soil. The system of sun worship 
which led the agriculturist to regard the sun as his great divinity 
would lead the Mound-builders to embody the sun symbols in 
their works. The system which led the civilized races to erect 
vast pyramids of stones and consecrate shrines to the sun divin- 
ity on the summit, induced the Mound-builders to erect their 
earth-works in the shape of the pyramids and place images upon 
the summits. These different phases of nature worship only 
illustrate the law of parallel development, a law which prevailed 
in prehistoric tribes as well as in historic. We are, however, to 
remember that there are no hard and fast lines by which these 
systems were separated, for they were blended together every- 
where, the only difference being that one system was more prom- 
inent than the other. We take the different districts and learn 
from the works and relics that these embodied the religions of 
the Mound-builders, but at the same time see the shading of one 
into the other, and avoid making the divisions arbitrary. 

I. Let us take the system of animism. This, in the larger field 
and among the living races, was the religion of the savages and 
belonged to the lowest stages of human development. Ani- 



mism prevailed among the Mound-builders. Among them it 
was also the lowest form of religion. Remains of it are, to be 
sure, occasionally seen among the higher stages, but it was, 
nevertheless, a superstition of the savages. The essence of ani- 
mism consisted in ascribing a soul to everything, and making 
the soul of material things about as important as the human 
soul. The savage, when he buried the body of the dead, depos- 
ited the various belongings with the body, for he thought that 
the spirit would use the weapons and relics in the land of the 
shades. With the Mound-builders the same superstition pre- 
vailed, but with them it was often the custom to break the relics 
in order to let out the soul. It was to the same superstition 
that chambers and vaults, resembling the houses and tents of 
the chiefs, were left in the center of the mounds and that the 
bodies were placed inside these vaults. The thought was that 
the spirit remained ; every individual having a double lodge, one 
occupied before death, the other to remain inhabited after death. 
We give a series of cuts which illustrate the points referred 

Fig. 2.— Mound near East Dubuque. 


to. It will be noticed that in each of these the mound contains 
a chamber, and in the chambt:r are skeletons, and with the 
skeletons are relics which were used in the life-time; the idea 
bein^ that the soul needed the same after death. The first 
figure (see Fig. i) illustrates a mound situated on the Iowa 
River, a region where hunter i aces are known to have lived; 
in this mound is a stone vault having the shape of an arch, and in 
the vault a single skeleton, silling, with a pottery vessel by its 
side. The next (see Figs. 2 and 4) represent a mound situated 
on a high bluff on the Mississippi River in East Dubuque. In 
this mound was a cell divided into three apartments : in the 
central apartment were eight skeletons silling in a circle, while 
in the center of the circle was a drir.king vessel made of a sea 
shell; the other cells are said to have contained chocolate-colored 
dust, which had a very offensive odor. The whole chambe»- 
was covered with a layer of poles or logs, above which were 
several layers of cement, made partly of lime. Another figure 
(see Fig. 3) represents a burial mound containing a chamber, in 
the bottom of which were several skeletons, a lop covering of 
sand, a layer of clay, a layer of hard clay mixed with ashes, 
and a layer of mortar over the bones. This mound was in 


Crawford County, Wisconsin, in the region of the effifjv mounds. 
Another figure (see Fig, 5) represents a chambered mound in 
Missouri. The vault in this mound was rectangular, and was 
built and was laid up with stones very much like a modern build- 
ing, but has a passage-way at the side which reminds us of the 
European cists or dolmens. It is a remarkable specimen of the 
handiwork of the Mound-builders. Whether these difTerent 
chambers or vaults can be regarded as representing the houses 
of the Mound-builders is a question; but the fact that they are 
in the burial mounds, and so many of them contain relics and 
remains, would indicate that such was the case. 

We have said that burial mounds of hunter tribes were gener- 
ally stratified. We find, however, stratified mounds containing 
pottery vessels near the heads, as though there was an association 
of the spirit with the vessel. We find also groups of lodge 
circles on the sites of villages, but within the circles are bodies 
and relics, giving the idea that they were buried within the lodge. 
It was the custom of certain tribes to bury the body on the very 
spot where life had departed. The tent and its furniture and 

O^.- <2<. 

Fig. 3. — Mound in Crawford County, Wisconsi7i. 

equipments were either burned or removed, but the body re- 
mained where it was. May we not ascribe these lodge circles 
to the same superstition? It was the custom, also, of other 
tribes to bury the body in the very attitude which it assumed in 
'' articulo mortis''. May not this explain the peculiar attitude of 
some of the bodies found in the tops of the mounds, where the 
face rests upon the hands, the body on the sides with the knees 
drawn to the chin ? It was the custom of the Dakota tribes to 
remove the sod and expose the soil for the sacred rites of cer- 
tain feasts, as the Master of Life was supposed to dwell in the 
soil. The sacred pipes and other eniblems were placed near 
the fresh earth, as if to be offered to the spirit which dwelt there. 
May not this same superstition, that the soul or spirit of life was 
in the soil, account for the burial customs which were embodied 
in the mound? The sam.e punctillious care over the details of 
burial was observed in prehistoric times that is now seen in the 
sacred ceremonies of the modern historic tribes. We cannot 
dwell upon this subject, but, doubtless, if we understood the cus- 
toms. of the Mound-builders better, we should find that there* 
was not a single item which did not have its special significance. 
Great variety is, to be sure, manifested in the burial mounds. 



Fig. U.— Skeletons at East Dubvque. 

Some contain rehcs, the very relics which had been used during 
the life ot the deceased; the bodies of children being covered 
with bone beads, the very beads that had been worn as neck- 
laces and wristlets; the bodies of warriors being attended by the 
arrows, axes, spear heads, badges, gorgets and ornaments which 

they had carried through life; the 
3,^ bodies of chiefs being attended 
'5I with pipes, spool ornaments, 
'{A pearl beads and many other 
precious relics, which were their 
personal belongings. Vases filled 
with sweetmeats were sometimes 
buried near the children ; pottery 
vessels and domestic utensils near 
the heads of females, and brood- 
ing ornaments or bird-shaped 
relics, used as the signs of mater- 
nity. Even tender fabrics, such as the cloth woven from hem.p, 
feather robes and coverings, made from the hair of the rabbit, 
delicate needles made from bone and from copper, spool orna- 
ments made from wood and covered with copper and sometimes 
with silver ; in fact, all the articles that made up the toilet of 
women or furnished equipments for men, or were playthings of 
children, were deposited at times in the mounds, not as offerings 
to the sun divinity, nor the serpent or fire, but as gifts or pos- 
sessions to which the spirit ot the dead had a right, 

II. We now come to the second form of nature worship. This 
prevailed chiefly among the Mound-builders, though we some- 
times recognize it among living tribes. It is the system of animal 
worship — the normal cult ot the hunter 
tribes. According to this system, the 
animals were frequently regarded as 
divinities. They were the ancestors of 
the clans, as well as their protectors, and 
gave their names to the clans. This 
system prevailed among the northern and 
eastern tribes, such as the Iroquois, the 
Algonquins. Chippeways or Ubjibways, 
and, to a certain extent, the Dakotas, 
though among the latter it was greatly 
modified. It prevailed especially through 
the northern districts and along the chain 
of great lakes. Its peculiarity was that the people were not 
permitted to eat the flesh of the animal whose emblem they bore, 
nor were they permitted even to marry into the clan of the same 
animal name ; a most remarkable system when we consider its 
effect upon the details of society and its influence in the tribal 
organization. The same .system prevailed on the northwest 

Fig. .').— Chambered Mound. 


coast, but it was here modified by the presence of human images 
carved into genealogical trees, with the thunder-bird generally 
surmounting the column. 

This system prevailed among the Mound-builders, especially 
in the northern districts. It was embodied in the effigies which 
are so numerous in the State of Wisconsin, but was also exercised 
by those people who have left so many animal figures made in 
effigy from standing stones which are found in Dakota Descrip- 
tions of these effigies have been given by the author in the book 
on " Emblematic Mounds." Other specimens have been discov- 
ered since the volume was published. We maintain that there 
were three specific uses made of these effigies — the same uses 
which may be recognized in the totem posts of the northwest 
coast. They are as follows : 

I. The perpetuity of the clan name. In the totem posts the 
clan name was mingled with the family history, but generally 
surmounting the column, the genealogical record of the family 

Pig. 6.— Totenvi in Wiscoi%sin. 

being contained in the elaborate carvings found below. They 
might be called ancestor posts, for the name or image of each 
ancestor was given, a great effort being made to extend the 
genealogical line as far as possible. This same use of animal 
figures as tribal or clan signs, designed to represent the clan 
names, may be recognized in some of the old deeds which were 
given by the Iroquois to the whites.* Here the bear, the turkey 
and the wolf are drawn on paper to signify the clan emblem of 
the chief The same custom has been recognized in the emblem- 
atic mounds, with this difference: instead of being written on 
paper or carved in wood, in this case the totems were moulded into 
earth-works; massive effigies of eagles, swallows.wolvcs,squirresl, 
bears, panthers, turtles, coons, buffaloes and other animals, and 
having been placed upon the soil to mark the habitat of the clans. 
They served the purpose, because they were on the hill-tops as 
well as in the valleys, and marked not only the sites of villages, 
but the game drives, the sacrificial places, the dance grounds and 
council houses of the clans. See Fig. 6. 

2. The protective power of the totems is to be noticed. On 
the northwest coast the houses are sometimes furnished with 

♦See Uocumeinary History of New York. Vol. II. 


figures of whales, serpents and other animals. In some cases 
the entrance to the house is through the body of a fish; other 
houses have the image of the thunder bird, with spread wings, 
placed over the doorway; the entrance of the house being un 
der the body and between the wings. The same custom was 
common among the Mandans and other tribes of the prairies ; 
they painted upon ihe outsides of their tents the figures of a 
deer or elk, making the opening to the tent through the body of 
the animal. We have noticed also among the effigy mounds 
that figures of the squirrels, panthers and wolves were placed at 
the entrance-way to the villages, so placed as to give the idea 
that they were designed to protect the villages. In all such 
cases they were the clan emblems. We have also noticed that 
the clan emblems were placed near the game drives, as if the 
protection of the clan divinity was invoked by the hunter. 
Sometimes the clan emblem, would be placed at a distance on a 
hilltop above the village, giving the idea that there was an over- 
shadowing presence. A favorite custom was to seize upon some 
cliff, or ridge, or knob of land which had a resemblance to the 
clan emblem and there place the effigy, as if there were a double 
protection in this : animism and totemism conspiring to 
strengthen the fancy. See Figs. 7 and 10. 

3. The mythologic character of the totems is to be noticed. 
On the northwest coast the great myth bearers are the totem 
posts. We learn from Mr. James Deans* that the myths of the 
people were carved into the vacant spaces upon the posts, and 

that it v/as the ambition of the people to per- 
^^^ ^^^ petuate as many myths as possible. 

The hideous masks which are so common in 
the same region were also designed to be myth 
bearers. These masks served the same purpose 
as buffalo-heads and elk-horns did among the 
Dakotas. They helped to carry out the sem- 
blances of the animals which were assumed by 
mg.7-TartieTotevu j^nccrs at the great feasts, the buffalo dance and 
the elk dance being characterized by imitations of the attitudes of 
the animals. The effigies were also myth bearers. Groups of 
efifigics are found which contain all the animals that were native 
to the region, closely associated with human figures (see Fig. 8), 
the efifigies in their attitudes and relative positions giving the idea 
that there was a myth contained in them. 

4. The totems also served a part in the pictographs. One fact 
illustrates this: The Osages have a secret order in which traditions 
are preserved by symbols tatooed upon the throat and chest.f 
One of these traditionary pictographs is as follows : At the top 

♦Aimeriran Antiquarian. Article by James Deans, Vol. XIIl., No. IV. 
twixlh Annual Report of Bureau of Kthnology, page :W8, "Osage Traditions," by- 
Rev. J. O. Dorsey. 



Fig. S. — Mf/lh liearvr of the Dakotas. 

we see a tree near a river, called the tree of life; just under the 
river we see a large star, at the left the morning star, and next 
are six stars, then the evening star; beneath these are seven 
stars, or the pleides; below these the moon on the left, the sun 
on the right, between them a peace pipe and a hatchet ; below 
these are the four upper worlds, represented by four parallel lines, 

a bird is seen hovering over 
the four worlds. The object 
of the tradition or chart was 
to show how the people as- 
cended from the lower worlds 
and obtained human souls 
whenthey had long been in the 
body of birds and animals. 
The Osages say : " We do 
not believe that our ancestors 
were really animals or birds; 
these things are only symbols 
of something higher." Mr. 
Dorsey also says: "The lowas 
have social divisions and per- 
sonal names of mythical persons and sacred songs, but these are 
in the Winnebago language." He says: "Aside from traditions 
even the taboos and the names of the gentes and the phratries 
are objects of mysterious reverence, and such names are never 
used in ordinary conversation." We take it for granted that the 
totems of the Mound-builders were also as thoroughly subjects 
of reverence and that there was much secrecy in reference to them. 
There were probably secret societies 
and " mysteries" among the Mound- 
builders, and it would require initia- 
tion on our part to understand the 
symbols which have perpetuated the 
myths and traditions as much as if 
they were hieroglyphics and we were 
without the key. The subject of to- 
temism is very complicated, but was 
prevalent in prehistoric times as one 
of the wide-spread systems of religion. 
5. Another phase of totemism was that 
which connected itself with various 
objects of nature — trees, rocks, caves, 
rivers. It was thought that invisible spirits haunted every dark 
and shadowy place. The caves were their chief abode; the cliffs 
were also filled with an invisible presence. Every rock or tree 
of an unusual shape was the abode of a spirit, especially if there 
was any resemblance in the shape to any human or animal form. 
It was owing to this superstition, that gave a soul to every thing, 

Fig. 9— Myth Bearer from a Cave 
in Wisconsin. 



that so many double images are found in the Mound-builders' 
territority. The image of the serpent, of the lizard, of the turtle, 
was recognized in the bluff or rock or island or stream; and the 
mound resembling the same creature was placed above the bluff 
to show that the resemblance had been recognized. Totemism, 
then, was not confined to the savages who roamed through the 
dark forest of the North, nor to those Northern tribes which 
made their abode upon the prairies, and lelt traces of themselves 
in the idols and images and foot tracks and inscriptions, which 
are now such objects of wonder, but it extended far to the 
southward, and was mingled with the more advanced systems 
which prevailed in this region. 


Fig. 10. — Alligator Mound in Ohio. 

This was totemism. We conclude that it bore an important 
part in the Mound-builder's life. It was very subtle and obscure, 
yet if we recognize it among the living tribes we may also 
recognize it among those who have passed away. 

6. Under the head of totemistic symbols we shall place those re- 
markable works, the great serpent and alligator mounds. These 
closely correspond to the shape of the cliff or hill on which 
they are placed. They must be regarded as sacred or religious 
works, as they probably had a mythologic significance. The 
alligator mound is situated upon a high and beautifully rounded 
spot of land, which projects boldly into the beautiful valley of 
the Raccoon Creek. The hill is 150 or 200 feet high. It is so 
regular as almost to induce the belief that it has been artificially 
rounded. It commands a view of the valley for eight or ten 
miles, and is by far the most conspicuous point within that limit. 
Immediately opposite, and less than a half mile distant, is a 


large and beautiful circular work; to the right, three-fourths of 
a mile distant, is a fortified hill, and upon the opposite side of 
the valley is another intrenched hill. The great circles at New- 
ark, which we have designated as village inclosures, are but a 
few miles away and would be distinctly visible were there no in- 
tervening forest. Squier and Davis say: "The effigy is called 
the alligator, though it closely resembles the lizard. The total 
length is about 250 feet, breadth of body 40 feet, length of legs 
36 feet. The paws are broader than the legs, as if the spread 
of the toes had been imitated. The head, shoulders and rump 
are elevated into knobs and so made prominent. Near the effigy 
is a circular mound covered with stones, which have been much 
burned. This has been denominated an altar. Leading to it 
from the top of the effigy is a graded way ten feet broad. It 
seems more than possible that this singular effigy had its origin 
in the superstition of its makers. It was perhaps the high place 
where sacrifices were made on extraordinary occasions, and 
where the ancient people gathered to celebrate the rites of their 
unknown worship. The valley which it overlooks abounds in 
traces of a remote people and seems to have been one of the 
centers of ancient population."* See Fig. 10. 

In reference to the altars so called, we may say: "One is to 
be distinctly observed in the inclosure connected with the great 
serpent and another in connection with the cross near Tarlton, 
and still another in connection with the bird effigy at Newark." 
This bird ( ffigy is also worthy of notice; it was in the centre of 
the great circle, and seems to have been erected for religious 
purposes, like the great circles of England, and in the squares 
of Peru and Mexico, enclosures within which were erected the 
shrines of the gods ot the ancient worship and altars of ancient 
religion. These may have been spots consecrated by tradition, 
or rendered remarkable as the scene of some extraordinary 
event, invested with reverence and regarded with superstition; 
tabooed to the multitude, but full of significance to the priest- 
hood. They may have embraced consecrated graves, and guarded 
as they were by animal totems, have been places where myster- 
ious rites were practiced in honor of the great totemistic divinity. 

III. The third form of nature worship we shall mention, is the 
one which consisted in the use of fire. It might be called fire 
worship, although it has more of the nature of a superstition 
than of worship. This custom, of using fire as an aid to devo- 
tion, was not peculiar to the Mound-builders, for it was common 
in all parts of the world; the suttee burning of India being the 
most noted. In Europe cremation or burial in fire was a cus- 
tom peculiar to the bronze age, and indicated an advanced stage 
of progress; the relics which are found in the fire-beds being 

•Ancient Monuments, Page 101. 


chieHy of bronze and many of theni highly wrought. In this 
country the fire cult was, perhaps, peculiar to the copper age; at 
least, the larger portion of the relics which are found in the fire 
beds are copper. As to the extent of this cult, we may say it was 
prevalent among the native tribes both of the Mississippi Valley 
and of the far West, and, in some cases, appeared upon the 
northwest coast. There are instances where cremation or burning 
of human bodies was practiced which, in many of its features 
resembled the suttee burning. The custom of keeping a perpetual 
fire was one phase of this fire cult. This seems to have been 
general among the tribes of the Mississippi Valley, so well as 
among the civilized races of the southwest. It was a supersti- 
tion of the Aztecs, that if the fire went out in the temple, the 
nation ceased to exist. The ceremony of creating new fire was 
the most sacred and important event among them. Charlevoix 
says that fire among the Muscogees was kept burning in honor 
of the sun. It was fed with billets or sticks of wood so arranged 
as to radiate from a common center, like the spokes of a wheel.* 
Temples were erected for this purpose, and in them the bones of 
the dead chieftans were also kept. Tonti says of the Taensas: 
"The temple was, like the cabin of the chief, about forty feet 
square; the wall fourteen feet high; the roof doom shaped; 
within it an altar, and the fire was kept up by the old priests 
night and day. The temples were quite common throughout 
the region known as Florida, extending from Arkansas to the 
southern point of the Peninsula. They were found in many of 
the villages, and great care was exercised that the fire within 
them should be perpetual. The temples finally disappear, and, 
in their stead, we find the hot house or rotunda or council 
houses, such as are known to the Cherokees. The time came 
when a temple was no longer spoken of, though the rotunda 
embodied something of its sacredness. It was within this rotunda 
that the first fire was kindled; and it was here, under the care of 
the priests, that the perpetual fire was kept burning. A very 
interesting rite was observed annually, when all fires of the tribes 
were put out and kindled anew by the fire generator. This took 
place on the occasion of the feast of the first fruits on the third 
day. On that day, as the sun declined, universal silence reigned 
among the people. The chief priests then took a dry piece of 
wood, and, with the fire generator, whirled it rapidly. The wood 
soon began to smoke; the fire was collected in an earthen dish 
and taken to the altar. Its appearance brought joy to the hearts 
of the people. The women arranged themselves around the 
public square, where the altar was, each receiving a portion of 
the new and pure flame. They then prepared, in the best man- 
ner, the new corn and fruits, and made a feast in the square, in 

♦Charlevoix Letters, page ll:{. 


which the people were assembled and with which the men re- 
galed themselves."* 

As to the prevalence of the fire cult among the Mound-build- 
ers, it was not confined to the southern districts, where the 
rotundas were and where sun worship was so prominent. At 
least one stage of this fire cult, that which consisted in cremation 
of the bodies, appeared in the regions north of the Ohio River 
and was quite common. 

We shall see the extent of this custom if we draw a line diag- 
onally from the region about Davenport, Iowa, through Illinois, 
Indiana, Southern Ohio, West Virginia and North Carolina. We 
shall find that the line strikes the majority of the fire beds and 
altar mounds. What is remarkable, also, along this line are found 
those relics which have been associated with the fire cult of Ohio, 
many of them havmg been placed upon the altars and offered 
either to the sun divinity or to the fire. Among these relics we 
may mention as chief the so-called Mound-builder pipe. This 
was a pipe with a curved base and a carved bowl, the bowl being 
an imitation of some animal native to the region. The pipes are 
very numerous in the vicinity ot Davenport, Iowa. The animals 
imitated are very nearly the same as those represented in the 
Ohio pipes — the lizard, the turtle, the toad, the howling wolf, the 
squirrel, ground-hog and bird. One pipe has the shape of the 
serpent wound about the bowl, an exact counterpart of the ser- 
pent pipe which was found upon the altar in Clarke's Works in 
Southern Ohio, Similar pipes, carved in imitation of animals — 
badgers, toads and birds — have also been found upon the Illinois 
River, in Cass County, and upon the White River, in Indiana, 
showing that the people who occupied the stations were acquainted 
with the same animals and accustomed to use the same kind of 
pipe. The Davenport pipes are not so skillfully wrought as the 
Ohio pipes, but have the same general pattern. 

They were not all of them found in the fire beds, for many of 
them were discovered in mounds where the fire had gone out. 
These mounds are situated along the banks of the Mississippi 
River, from the vicinity of Muscatine through Toolsboro, 
Moline, Rock Island and Davenport, the most remarkable spec- 
imens having been found on the Cook farm, just south of 
the latter city. There were fire beds and altars in this group, 
but even here, as in the case of other mounds where there was 
no fire, the pipes were placed near the bones, which were still 
well preserved, and none of them showed traces of fire. 

Let U3 here notice the difference between the tokens in the 
two sections, i. In Ohio nearly all Mound-builder pipes, in- 
cluding the finely wrought serpent pipes and the other animal 
pipes, had been placed upon the altar and subjected to the 

♦Journal of Ainerionn Folk-l.ore, Vol. IV, No. XIV. Social Organization of The 
eau, by J. O. Dorsei , page '2i5. bee map inCbapier II. 

Biveau, by 


action of fire and so badly burned that they were broken into 
fragments. In western mounds they were unbroken. 2. Another 
difference is noticeable. While there were as many copper relics 
in the Davenport mounds, as in the Ohio mounds, they were 
mainly copper axes, many of which were wrapped in cloth and 
placed with the bodies. Fig. 1 1. Farquharson calls them cere- 
monial axes. There were no signs of use in them. They varied 
in size and shape, some of them being flat, others flat on one side, 
convex on other; still others convex on both sides. The cloth 
in which they were wrapped was well preserved by action of the 
copper ; it was made of hemp, and resembled burlap. In the 
Ohio mounds no such copper axes have been found. Copper 
beads and copper chisels are numerous, however, and beads and 
pendants are as common as in Davenport. 3., The characteristic 

FHg.U. — Copper Axe.t '1,1(1 piitterii VeKnels from Toolsboro. 

relic of the altar mounds of Ohio is the copper spool ornament. 
In the Davenport mound there were very few spool orna- 
ments, but awls and needles were quite numerous; copper beads 
and pendants were common. Many of these were found in 
various localities, both on the Scioto River and in the Turner 
group. 4. Another point of difference between the two localities 
is the shape of the altars. Those in the Davenport mounds are 
never paved as in the Ohio mounds, the altars in the Davenport 
mounds being merely round heaps of stones or columns. Near 
these the bodies were placed, but the relics were beside the 
bodies and not upon the altars. In one case a few long shin- 
bones were crossed upon the top of the altar and others found 
leaning against the side of the stones, but no relics. The bodies 
do not seem to be cremated, but buried in the fire. The relics, 
including pipes, copper axes, copper awls, and obsidian arrows, 
were placed at the side or head of the body, but were rarely 

5. Another point of difference is that burials and cremations 


in Ohio were made before the mound was erected, while in the 
Davenport mounds, if there was any cremating, it took place at 
the time of burial, and the fire was smothered in the process of 
mound building. Prof. Putnam explored a burial mound on the 
Scioto River, which was situated in the great circle near the east- 
ern corner of the great square. It was i6o feet long, 90 feet 
wide and 10 feet high. It contained a dozen burial chambers 
made from logs. In these chambers the bodies were placed evi- 
dently wrapped in garments. With the bodies were buried va- 
rious objects, such as copper-plates, ear-rin^s, shell beads and 
flint knives, and on the breast of one skeleton was a thin copper 
plate or ornament. In some of the chambers there were evi- 
dences of fire as if the bodies had been burned on the spot. 
Prof Putnam's opinion is that the burials and cremations were 
made before the mound was erected, several burnings having 
occurred in one spot. The mound was erected over all, and was 
finished with a covering of gravel and with a border of loose 

Fig. 12 — Mound near Davenport. 

stones. This was the usual manner of erecting mounds among 
the fire worshipers. Squier and Davis in 1840 dug into the same 
mound and found a skeleton, with a copper plate and a pipe. 
They also found in other mounds altars in which bodies had 
been burned, but the ashes had been removed, a deposit of the 
ashes being found at one side of the altar. 6. The intense heat to 
which the relics were subjected in the Ohio mounds as com- 
pared to the partial burning in the Iowa mounds is to be no- 
ticed. Prof Putnam says that in the Turner group the fire was 
intense, and the iron masses were exposed to great heat on the 
altar and were more or less oxydized. Squier and Davis say 
that the copper relics found in the Ohio altars were cJften fused 
together, and the pipes of the Mound-builders were all ot them 

The question here arises, who were these fire-worshippers ? 
Were they the Cherokees, who survive in the mountains of Ten- 
nessee ? or were they the Dakotas, who so lately roam the prairies 
in the far West? or were they some unknown people ? Our 
answer to this question is, that no particular tribe can be said to 
represent the fire worshipers, for this cult prevailed among nearly 
all the different classes of Mound-builders. Mounds containing 
fire beds have been found in Wisconsin, Iowa, Illinois, Indiana, 
Ohio, West Virginia, East Tennessee, North Carolina, and the 


Gulf States. In Wisconsin the fire beds are without relics; in 
Iowa they contain relics, but they are unburned; in Ohio they 
contain many relics which seem to have been thrown upon the 
altars as offerings; in East Tennessee there are mounds which 
contain fire beds that resemble those of Ohio; in West Tennessee 
the mounds contain traces of fire, but no altars or fire beds. The 
relics are unburned. These latter mounds are said to have been 
built in the shape of cones, the cists containing the bodies being 
arranged in a circle about a central space, but each tier being 
drawn in so as to make a cone. The fire was in the center of 
the circle; outside the circle, near the heads, were pottery ves- 
sels, which made a circle of themselves, the whole arrangement 
indicating that there was not only a fire cult here, but that it was 
associated with sun worship,the superstition about the soul being 
embodied in the pottery vessels, the three forms of nature wor- 
ship being embodied together in one mound. 

We call attention to the cuts which represent the fire cult of 
the different districts. Fig I2 represents a mound on the Cook 
farm near Davenport, one of the group from which so many 
relics were taken. This mound contained no chamber, but in its 
place were two strata of limestone, but over these a series of 

skulls so arranged as to form a crescent, 
around each skull was a circle of stones. 
See Fig. 13. With the skeletons in the 
mound were two copper axes, two hemi- 
spheres of copper and one of silver, and 
several arrows. In an adjoining mound 
were two skeletons surr>:,unded by a cir- 
FHg. u.-orescent and Circle, ^j^ ^^ ^^^ stones; the skeletons Were under 

a layer of ashes and with them were several copper axes, cop- 
per beads, two carved stone pipes, one in the shape of a ground 
hog. The difference in the mounds will be noticed. In the 
latter mounds there were indications of fire worship and sun 
worship. Fig. 1 1 represents the vase and copper axes taken 
from the mound at Toolsboro. They exhibit an advanced stage 
of art and seem to indicate that the Iowa Mound builders did 
not fall much behind the Ohio Mound-builders in this respect. 

The Moquis practice a modified form of fire worship. No other 
living tribe preserves the cult to the same degree, and yet there 
is no evidence that the Moquis were ever Mound-builders. Two 
theories might be entertained ; one, that there was a progress in 
the fire worship ; another, that there was a decline, and yet there 
is no surviving tribe in which we recognize the fire cult of the 
ancient times. 

We can say that while the tokens of the fire worshipers, such 
as fire beds, copper relics and Mound-builders' pipes, are found 
scattered as far as the effigies on the north and the pyramids 
at the south, these three classes of tokens, one indicating ani- 


mal worship, the other fire worship, and the third sun wor- 
ship, are crowded into the single State of lUinois, and consti- 
tute the tokens of the middle Mississippi district. We notice 
also that the relics indicate three different modes of life or occu- 
pations. Among the effigy mounds are many copper relics, but 
mainly spear-heads, arrow-heads, chisels, knives, such as would 
be used by hunters. The relics in the fire beds and burial 
grounds near Davenport are axes, awls and needles ; no copper 
spear-heads or knives. The relics south of these fire-beds, 
especially those near the Cahokia mound, are mainly agricultural 
tools — spades, hoes, picks. The pottery of the three localities 
are in contrast, showing that three different stages of art and 
different domestic tastes in the three localities. The Mound- 
builder pipes are not found either among the effigies or pyra- 
mids, and seem to be confined to this narrow belt between the 

Still the fire cult must have been early in the Mound- 
builder period. We notice both in the Mississippi Valley and 
upon the Ohio River that the fire beds and altars are at the bot- 
tom of the mounds. In very many of the mounds there are 
layers of bodies, some of which were recumbent, others in 
various postures, but either without relics or having relics of a 
ruder or more modern character. These may have been depos- 
ited by various Indian tribes, such as the Sacs and Foxes, Potta- 
wattamies and Illinois. Mound-builder pipes, copper axes and 
other relics are always found as low down as the surface of the 
soil. They are not always in fire beds, but frequently there will 
be a hard floor and a saucer-like basin below the bodies, and 
above them piles of wood or logs, conveying the idea that the 
intention was to cremate the body, but the fire had gone out be- 
fore the wood had been burned. The descriptions given by all 
the explorers of the mounds of this vicinity are always to this 

IV. The prevalence of the moon cult will next be considered. 
The moon cult was evidently associated with sun-worship, and 
prevailed in the district where the works of the sun-worshippers 
are so numerous, namely: Southern Ohio. The evidences of 
this are as follows: i. In this district we find earth-works, which 
seem to be symbolical of the moon; their shape, location and 
probable use show this. They are crescent shape, but are some- 
times grouped around circles, and were probably used in con- 
nection with dances and feasts, which were sacred to the moon. 
We take for illustration the works whicn are called the Junc- 
tion Group, which is described by Squier and Davis. This group 
is situated on Paint Creek,, two and one half miles southwest of 

♦See descriptions by Kev. G. A. Gass, C. E. Harrison, W. H. Pratt, C. H. Preeston, 
Rev. A. Bloomer, A. F. Tiflfany, R. J. Fargueson; also proceedings of Davenport 
Academy of Science, Vol, I., page 96 lo 143; Vol. II., pages 141 and 289; "Vol. III., page 
135; Vol. v., page 37; also American Antiquarian. 



the town of Chillicothe. It consists of four circles, three ores 
cents, two square works and four mounds. The eastern enclos- 
ure is the principal one, and, in common with all the rest, con- 
sists ol a wall three feet high with an interior ditch. It is two 
hundred and forty feet square; the angles much curved, giving 
it very nearly the form of a circle. The area bounded by the 
ditch is an accurate square of one hundred and sixty feet side, 
and is entered from the south by a gateway twenty-five feet wide. 
To the southwest of this work, and one hundred and fifty feet 
distant, is a small mound, inclosed by a ditch and wall, with a 
gateway opening to it from the north. The ditch dips from the 
base of the mound, which is three feet high by thirty leet base. 



— ■ £;^s^rasLi? iciasTSi?, 



fj> : « _ --' j» -> i* 

?*»0 feel lD)hA-Wk 

Fiff. 1!,.— Junction Group. 

Almost touching the circle enclosing the mound is the horn of 
a crescent work, having a chord of one hundred and thirty-two 
feet. Sixty-six feet distant, in the same direction, is still another 
crescent, which terminates in a mound of sacrifice, seven feet 
high by forty-five feet base, which commands the entire group of 
works. This mound was opened and found to contain an altar; 
such an altar as is peculiar to mounds devoted to religious pur- 
poses. Upon it were a number of relics clearly pertaining to the 
Mound-builders. In reference to these works Squier and Davis 
say: "That they were not designed for defense is obvious; and 
that they were devoted to religious rites is more than probable. 
Similar groups are frequent. Indeed, small circles resembling 
these here represented, are by far the most numerous class found 
in the Scioto Valley." 

Next is the Blackwater group. This is situated on the right 
bank of the Scioto, eight miles above Chillicothe. It is especi- 



ally remarkable for its singular parallels (A and B of the plan). 
Each of these is 750 feet long by 60 broad. A gateway opens 
from the southern parallel to the east. They were in cleared 
ground and have been cultivated for twenty years. The ground 
embraced in the semi-circular works (C and B) is reduced several 
feet below the plain on which they are located. The resem- 
blance between this group and the one just described will be 
noticed, i. The group is arranged in an irregular circle. 2. 
There are three cres- 
cents in the group, each 
of them opening into 
the central space. 3. 
There is a small circle 
with a ditch and mound 
enclosed, the usual sun 
symbol of this region. 
4. A conical burial 
mound is found near 
one of the crescents. 5. 
The location of the 
group is quite similar 
to that of the Junction 
group, being in a high 
place above the river, 
this one beingsome two 
or three miles from 
Hopeton, the Junction 
group being two miles 
southwest of Chillico- 
the. Both of them oc- 
cupy the third terrace 
and overlook the other 
works in the vicinity. 

Another place where 
the cresce nt- shape d 
wall is found is in the 
tow.iship of Seal, Pike County. The large work and the small 
circles would attract especial attention. The larger enclosures, 
situated on the terrace above the bottom land, consist of the 
usual figures, the square and circle, the square measuring 800 
feet and the circle 1,050 feet, the connection by parallel walls, 475 
feet. In the small works we have the square, the circle, the 
ellipse, separate and in combination, and the crescent, all of 
them arranged as usual around an open space. From the small 
circle (D) a wall leads off along the brow of the terrace. It is 
probable that at the other end of this wall there was another 
small circle which has been destroyed by the wasting of the 
bank. The river now runs at a distance, but it seems to have 

Fig. 15. — Blackwater Group. 




worn the terrace away in several places before it receded. This 
shows the antiquity of the works. Nothing can surpass the 
symmetry of the small work (A). The other enclosures are 
perfect figures of their kind. The walls of the square coincide 
with the cardinal points of the compass, a fact which has great 
importance in connection with this form ot nature worship. 

Fig. 16.— Symbolic Works in Seal Towtiship, Ohio. 

The object of these works is unknown, but our theory is that 
the small figures mark a place of assembly for the clan which 
resided in the square enclosure, a peculiar symbolism being em- 
bodied in them. It may be that there was a secret order which 
perpetuated the religion of the people and which ruled over their 
feasts, the group of mounds being the place where their mys- 
teries were celebrated. 


' There are various crescent-shaped walls, near certain forts in 
Southern Ohio, which we take to be symbolic, and imagine that 
there was a protective power in the symbol. An illustration of 
this is found at Massie's Creek, seven miles from Xenia. There 
we find a wall of stone surroundino- an inclosure. This wall, 
near the gateway, is ten feet high, with thirty feet base. Just 
outside the gateways are the stone mounds, so situated as to 
guard the entrances ; outside the stone mounds are four short, 
crescent-shaped stone walls, each about three feet in height, the 
four making an outwork to the fort, on the side toward the 
highlands. Our conjecture is that these were in the shape of 
crescents, as the walls at Fort Ancient were in the shape of ser- 
pents, — the superstition being that the symbol itself was a source 
of safety. There are several other forts which have crescent- 
shaped entrances, one being at Bourneville, a region where the 
sun worshipers dwelt and had numerous villages. 

Another evidence is to be found in the many crescent-shaped 
walls, near square enclosures, whose use is unknown except as 
symbols of the moon. There are three such walls near a square 
enclosure, just opposite the stone fort on Massie's Creek, evi- 
dently connected with that fort.* 

There are crescent-shaped walls also within the enclosures at 
Marietta, as well as at the new fort at Fort Ancient; also at 
Liberty Township. The crescent-shaped wall, near the bird effigy 
in the large circle at Newark, is to be noticed. These fragment- 
ary walls may have had a practical use as well as symbolic, but 
the fact that they are so frequently associated with the square 
and circle, and so peculiarly related to those figures, would in- 
dicate that they were symbols of the moon. It would seem 
from the study of the enclosures that these walls mark the place 
of religious assemblies or the residences of the priests or medi- 
cine men, and that they correspond to the sweat-house or ro- 
tunda of the southern tribes and to the estufas of the Pueblos 
though the crescents themselves may have been only the seats 
of the chiefs and prominent men as they gathered around the 
sacred fire, which sent up its spiral column in the centre of the 
temple, which was consecrated to the sun. 

The work near Bainbridge, Ross County, situated on the Val- 
ley of Paint Creek, affords another of the thousand various com- 
binations. It can only be explained in connection with the 
superstition of the builders. It could answer no good purpose 
for protection, or subserve any useful purpose, such as the 
limits of fields, or boundaries of villages. 

There is another point to be considered in connection with the 
earth-works in Southern Ohio. Many of them have exactly the 
same shape with the relics and badges which are taken from the 

♦See Ancient Monuments, page 94. Plate XXXIV. 



mounds, the two together showing that the moon cult must- 
have been dominant. Among these we may mention those 
crescent-shaped altars, in which the silvery mica is supposed to 
have reflected the light of the moon, such as was found at 
Mound City, and the crescent-shaped pavement, near the great 
mound at Circleville, both of which were evidently symbolic. 
We recognize the counterparts to these in the various maces and 
badges and leaf-shaped relics. These maces are frequently 
crescent-shaped, some of them double crescents. They may 
have been placed at the heads of staffs and borne by medicine 
men or priests at the head of processions at their sacred feasts, 
but they show in their shape that there was a symbolism among 
the Mound-builders in which the moon-shaped crescent was a 
prominent figure. iVe sometimes recognize in the maces the 
sun circle, but the crescent was more common. What is most 
singular about the earthworks and relics is, that the same shapes 
are recognized both in the altars themselves and the relics con- 
tained within them. 



Fig. 17.— Altar of Leaf-shaped Implements. 

We may say in this connection that an altar was found upon 
the Illinois river, in Cass County, which consisted of several layers 
of leaf-shaped implements, which were almost the exact counter- 
part of one found in Mound City, near ChiUicothe, Ohio. The 
body on this altar was not burned. There was upon the breast 
a copper plate in the form of a crescent, shell gorgets, and other 
relics. Dr Snyder says the mound gave evidence of a water 
cult; but the resemblance to the Ohio mounds would show that 
it was connected with the fire cult. In reference to the shape of 
these flint relics and their religious significance, we may say that 
the exploring party led by Mr. Warren K, Moorehead has re- 
cently came upon a remarkable find, which consisted of 7,300 
flint relics, placed in an oval bed, at the bottom of an elliptical 
mound. The shape of the altar and mound corresponded, though 
the axis of the stone heap trended west, while the mound itself 
was directly north and south. This fire bed is said to have been 
twenty feet wide by thirty feet long, and the flint relies which 
constituted the pavement varied from twelve to fifteen inches in 
length and five to eight inches in width, making the pavement 
something over a foot in depth. This find was upon the north 
fork of Paint Creek, in the group of mounds from which Squier 


and Davis, many years ago, took so many valuable and curious 
relics, showing that the cfferings which were placed upon the 
altar were in reality devoted to the moon as well as to the sun, 
ihe mound, the altar and the relics being combined in symboliz- 
ing the different phases of the moon. Our conclusion is that 
the moon cult was as prominent as the fire cult, and that both 
of these were associated in the minds of the sun-worshipers. 
Thev cave sicrnificance to the altars, the relics and the earth- 
works of this region. Proofs of all this are given in the fact 
that offerings were placed upon altars which were very carefully 
constructed, the shapes of the altars perhaps being symbolic. 
The fire was lighted until the offerings were consumed. 

Squier and Davis speak of this when they describe the mounds 
in Mound City: Mound No. i showed traces of fire near the 
summit, which increased until the altar was reached. The relics 
found within the altar varied. In one they consisted of fragments 
of pottery, ornamented very tastefully, convex [copper discs and 
a layer of silvery mica, in sheets overlapping each other, and 
above the layer a quantity of human bones. 

Mound No. 2 contained an altar in the shape of a parallelo- 
gram of the utmost regularity. It measured at the base 8x10 
feet, and at the top 4x6 feet, and was 18 inches high; dip of the 
basin g inches. Within the basin was a deposit of fine ashes, 
fragments of pottery and a few pearl and shell beads. This 
mound also contained an intruded burial, for at three feet below 
the surface two skeletons were found. With these skeletons 
were found implements oi stone, horn and bone, as follows: 
Several hand-axes and gouges; beautiful chip of horn-stone, the 
size of one's hand; several knife handles made of deer's horn; 
an implement made from the shoulder-blade of a buffalo, and a 
notched instrument of bone, designed for distributing paint in 
lines on the faces of the warriors. 

Mound No. 3 is egg-shaped; measured 140x60 feet, 11 feet 
high; contained four strata. At the base of this mound there 
was a double altai. The entire length of the bottom altar was 
not far from 60 feet; that of the upper was 15 feet. The dip of 
the first basin was 18 inches. Relics were found within the 
smaller basin. It was found that the one altar had been built and 
used for a time, and then another one built within this basin, the 
process having been repeated three times, the ridge forming 
the last altar having a basin 8 feet square, while the first altar 
was five times that size, or 40 feet in diameter. The relics found 
in this mound were numerous and valuable. They were as fol- 
lows: A large number of spear-heads, quartz and garnet; an 
obsidian arrow-point, and other arrow-heads of limpid quartz. 
These had been so broken by the heat, that out of a bushel or 
two of fragments, only four specimens were recovered entirely. 
Among the copper relics were the following: Two copper 


chisels, one measuring^ 6, the other 8 inches in length; twenty 
copper tubes or beads, one and a quarter inches long, three- 
eighths in diameter ; two carved pipes were discovered, one in 
the shave of a toucan cut in white lime-stone ; a large quantity 
of pottery, out of which two vases were restored. 

Mound No. 7 was 17^ feet in height, 90 feet base. It was 
composed of six different strata of soil and sand, and contained 
at its base a floor of clay or altar, at one side of which was a layer 
of silvery mica formed of round sheets, 10 inches or a foot in 
diameter, overlapping each other like the scales of a fish, which 
made a pavement in the shape of a crescent around the altar 
twenty teet long and five feet wide. The mound was very com- 
pact, required an immense amount of labor to excavate it. Squier 
and Davis say that the presence of the mica crescent renders it 
probable that the Mound-builders worshiped the moon and that 
this mound was erected with unknown rites to that luminary. 

The personal ornaments which have been found indicate the 
same thing. Squier and Davis speak of discovering certain 
scrolls and discs made from sheets of silvery mica, which were 
perfect in their outline. These were perforated with a single 
hole, and were probably attached in some way to the dress. 
When placed together they make an ornament which reminds us 
of the celebrated "winged globe" or feathered disc, which was 
so common in Egypt and the East. The shell gorgets, which 
are so numerous at the south, represent the same symbols. These 
contain crescent-shaped figures in the center, surrounded by cir- 
cles, with dots between the circles: the whole contained within 
four concentric rings; the number four symbolizing the four 
quarters of the sky, the dots symbolizing the stars, the small 
circles the sun and the crescent in the center the moon. These 
gorgets are never found in Ohio, but they show that the moon 
cult was associated with the solar cult among the Mound-build- 
ers of the south. 




In our last chapter we spoke of the different systems of relig- 
ion prevalent among the Mound builders, with especial regard 
to their location and geographical distribution. We noticed that 
there were different systems embodied in the works of the differ- 
ent districts. The works of the efTfipy-builders, who were 
probably hunters, indicated totemism; those of the tomb-builders 
of the prairies, who were nomads, denoted animism ; those ot 
the altar-builders of the middle district, who were agriculturisis, 
exhibited fire worship ; the sacred enclosures or villages of the 
Ohio district denoted the moon cult. We did not, however, 
complete the study of the districts, nor did we exhaust all the 
systems prevalent. It remains for us to finish this task. 

There still remain to be considered several other systems — the 
water cult, the solar cult, and the beginnings of image worship. 
These found their embodiment in the works and relics of the 
three districts — those on the Ohio River, the mountain district 
and the gulf district — the tokens of each cult being found in all 
three districts and the systems having apparently overlapped one 
another throughout the entire region. We are to devote the 
present chapter to two of these systems, the water cult and the 
solar cult. 

These systems were associated with the fire cult and serpent 
worship, and in some places seem to have been attended with the 
phallic symbol and the human tree figure, these symbols having 
been distributed over the middle and southern districts. They 
prove the religious systems of the Southern Mound-builders were 
much more elaborate and highly developed than those of the 
Northern Mound-builders, suggesting that the Southern Mound- 
builders belonged to a different race or received their religion 
from a different source. These systems are certainly more arti- 
ficial, more highly organized, and show more highly developed 
thought. They may have sprung from nature worship, the same 
as the northern systems, and been owing to the growth of relig- 
ious sentiment in the more permanent and advanced condition of 
society which prevailed at the south. Still, there are so many 
Strange symbols in these districts, resembling those in oriental 
countries, that we are tempted to ascribe them to contact with 
civilized races, and to say that they are identically the same as 


those prevailing in Europe, Asia and the tar East, and must have 
been transmitted to this country. We do not undertake to follow 
up the channel through which they flowed, nor to decide as to 
the country trom which they came, but we can not help the 
conviction that they bear the impress of systems which are known 
in historic countries and which appear in the early ages in those 


We imagine that there was once in the far East a system ot 
nature worship which was as rude as anything found in America; 
that at that time the elements of fire, water, lightning, the sun 
and moon, and all the nature powers, were worshiped, or. at least, 
divine attributes ascribed to them. We are sure that serpent 
worship and tree worship prevailed, and appeared in the East, 
though we do not know exactly at what time they appeared. 
Phallic worship and image worship also came in at a certain stage 
in the progress of thought. The last served to corrupt and degrade 
the other systems, and very soon perverted them, so that they 
became sources of degradation to the people. The Scriptures 
condemn these, and history confirms the justice of the sen- 
tence. The tradition of the serpent in the Scriptures may be an 
allegory or a statement of fact, but there is no doubt that the 
serpent worship was a source of degradation and a sentence was 
placed upon it by enlightened conscience. The personification of 
the nature powers did not elevate the people, for when the per- 
sonification grew more elaborate the moral practices grew more 
degraded. When the Eleusinian mysteries were introduced into 
Egypt and Greece, everything became significant of the processes 
of nature. Names were given to the nature powers, and myths 
were invented to explain the origin of the names ; but the myths 
and mysteries did not save the people from degradation. 

While the doctrine of immortality and the future state was 
understood and the anticipation was symbolized by nature wor- 
ship, yet cruelties were practiced and degraded rites attended the 
worship of the elements. The phallic worship and fire worship 
were devoted to human sacrifices, and sun worship itself was 
attended with the immolation of human victims. 

All of these systems are found m America, and their symbols 
are scattered far and wide. We do not know whether they are to be 
connected with the decline of religion in oriental countries, or 
with the progress of religion in America, for they are closely 
connected with the nature worship, from which all moral distinc- 
tions were absent. Still, the symbols which, in Eastern lands, 
are suggestive of degraded practices are the very Symbols prev- 
alent here. They are symbols which, in the East, belonged to 
the secret mysteries, the very mysteries which were so full of 
cruelties and degradations. 

We maintain that the religion of the Mound-builders not only 
embodied the same elements as those which became so strong 


in the oriental religions when at a certain stage, but it shows 
how these elements interacted. The fire became the symbol of 
the sun and consumed the offerings made to the sun, and became 
sacred as his servant. The serpent was frequently regarded 
as a divinity in some way amenable to the sun, and so serpent 
pipes and serpent effigies were connected with the sun circle in 
the symbolism of the Mound-builders. It is possible that there 
was a certain kind of tree worship;* the same element of life hav- 
ing its chief embodiment in the tree, which was able to stand up 
in its force. The moon cult also prevailed, for the moon is al- 
ways an attendant upon the sun. Whether there was a distinc- 
tion of sex between the sun and moon is unknown; but the sun 
circle and the moon crescent may have been male and female. 

These three types of nature v/orship, in which the fire, the 
serpent and the sun were the chief divinities, probably prevailed 
throughout the Mound-builders' territory, though their symbols 
varied with different localities. We recognize the water cult, 
the solar cult, and the image worship, as different phases of 
nature worship; but we find that in the symbols there was a re- 
markable resemblance to the symbolism of other countries, and 
whether able or not to trace one to the other, we are struck with 
the thought that there was a studied and intentional symbolism, 
which resembled that of the Druids, in all their earthworks. The 
altars, the temple platforms, the burial mounds, the dance circles, 
the village enclosures, and the covered ways, were all here used 
not only for practical purposes and such as would subserve the 
convenience of the people living in the villages, but they were 
especially devoted to religious purposes and contained sym- 
bols in them. The relics also were symbolic, and many of 
them were buried with the persons, — their very position, in con- 
nection with the bodies, having a religious significance. It was 
not one cult alone that was symbolized in these, for some of the 
burial mounds contained offerings to the spirit of the dead — the 
symbols of the soul being placed in the mouth; but there were 
other offerings made to the water, to the sun, others to the fire, 
and others to the moon. The relics placed upon the altars, the 
ornaments, the flint discs, the copper crescents, the mica 
plates, the carved images, and the pottery figures, were all conse- 
crated to the sun, and, when placed as offerings upon the altar, 
bore in their shape the symbol of the sun, as much as the altars 
themselves, or the earth-works in which they were enclosed. 
There is no locality where this system of sun worship is not 
symbolized. What is more, the system seemed to have brought 
into its service, ^nd made useful, the symbols of the preceding 

*This Is the explanation given by the Dakotas of tree worship. The spirit of life 
■was In the tree. It may be that this will account for the tree worship In the East, 
and win explain how tree worship and phallic worship became associated. The two 
in the East were symbolized by the sacred groves, socalled, the symbol of Asharah, 
or Astarte, the moon goddess. 


stages of worship. The serpent, the phallic symbol, the carved 
animals, the crescent-shaped relics, the fire-beds,— all were as- 
sociated with the sun circle and made parts of the symbolism of 
sun worship. We imagine the combination to have been as fol- 
lows: The sun symbol was embodied in the earth circles; the 
moon cult in the altars; the fire cult in the ashes in and beside 
the altars; the water cult in the ponds and wells found in and 
near the enclosures; animal worship in the effigies; the phallic 
symbol in the horse-shoe earth-works. We also find that the 
elements, such as the four quarters of the sky, four winds, four 
points of'the compass, are symbolized by the cross and four con- 
centric circles. So we come to look at everything as more or 
less symbolic. It is remarkable, as we .study the village sites, 
how many of the conveniencies of village life were placed under 
the protection of the sun divinity, and how much provision was 
made for the worship of the sun under all circumstances.. We 
notice that the ponds and springs are near the villages; that 
covered ways connect the villages with the river's bank, and we 
imagine there was among the Mound-builders, as well as among 
the Pueblos and Cliff-dwellers, a cult which regarded springs and 
rivers as sacred and peopled them with divinities. We imagine 
that the most sacred ceremonies were observed in connection with 
these springs, and that the elaborate earth-works were erected 
to give solemnity to the various mysteries, which were directed 
by the secret orders. These different cults were combined, but, 
for the sake of convenience, it will be well to take them up 

I. First let us consider the water cult. This is a system which 
was very obscure in America, as, in fact, it was in the East. It 
seems to have existed here, but was closely connected with the 
solar cult, the ceremonies of that cult requiring the presence of 
water to make it complete. We have shown how extensively dis- 
tributed was the tradition of the flood in America, how varied 
was the symbolism which perpetuated this tradition. We do not 
know that any such tradition existed among the Mound-builders 
nor can we discover any symbol which perpetuated it ; but the 
water cult which we recognize is very similar to that which pre- 
vailed in Europe at a very early date, and was there symbolized 
in the prehistoric earth-works. We turn, then, to the resemblance 
which may be recognized between some of the earth-works in 
Southern Ohio and those in Great Britain. We have already 
spoken of this, but as certain new investigations and new discov- 
eries have been made, we review the evidence. 

I. The first group of works which we shall cite is the one 
at Portsmouth. The chief evidence is given by the avenues or 
the covered ways, which seem to have connected the enclosures 
on the difterent sides of the river. These, by aid of the ferry 
across the river, must have been the scene of extensive religious 



processions, which can be compared to nothing better than the 
mysterious processions of Druid priests which once characterized 
the sacrifices to the sun among the ancient works of Great Brit- 
ain. It has been estimated that the length of the avenues or 
covered ways was eight miles. The parallel walls measure about 
lour feet in height and twenty feet base, and were not far from 
1 60 feet apart. It is in the middle group that we discover the 
phallic symbol (see Fig. i), the fire cult, the crescent of the 
moon and the sun circle. In the works upon the west bank of 
the Scioto we find the effigy enclosed in a circle (see Fig. 2), as 
a sign of animal worship, and in the concentric circles (see Fig. 3) 
with the enclosed conical mound, on the Kentucky side, we find 
the symbols of sun 



Boon le liie Inrh 

J^frtw^J ^r X C J'ra4i 

fig. 1.— Horse Shoe Enclosures at Portsmouth, 

worship. V/e would 
here call attention 
to the theories re- 
cently thrown out 
by Mr. A. L.Lewis 
that the water cult 
was combined with 
the sun cult at the 
great works at Ave- 
bury; the avenues 
made of standing 
stones having pass- 
ed over the Kennet 
Creek before they 
reached the circle at 
Beckhampton ; the same is true at Stanton Drew and at Mount 
Murray, in the Isle of Man. In each of these places were covered 
avenues reaching across marshy ground towards the circles. "If 
the circles were places of worship or sacrifice, such avenues con- 
necting them with running streams may have had special object 
or meaning."* 

Mr. Lewis says: "I have never adopted Stukeley's snake 
theory, tor I could never see any great resemblance to a serpent, 
nor could I see any thing very suggestive of a serpent in the ar- 
rangement of the other circles. Still, Stukeley's statements about 
the stones of the avenue, leading from the great circle toward 
the river, are very precise." Stukeley says: " There were two 
sets of concentric circles surrounded by another circle, which 
was encircled by a broad, deep ditch, outside of which was an 
embankment large enough for a railway; two avenues of stone 
leading southwest and southeast. The theory now is that they 
led across the water of Kennet Creek to Beckhampton and to 
Overton Hill. The so-called coves in the large circles mark the 

♦Journal of Anthropological Institute, February, 1891. 



site of altars, whereon human sacrifice may have been offered to 
the sun; but the avenues mark the place through which proces- 
sions passed in making their sacrifices, — a passage over water 
being essential to the ceremony." 

This is a new explanation of these works, but it is one which 
becomes very significant in connection with the works at Ports- 
mouth. Here the avenues approach the river in such a way as 
to show that a canoe ferry was used to cross the river, the cere- 
mony being made more significant by that means. The covered 
ways, to be sure, do not reach the edge of the water, but termi- 
nate with the second terrace, leaving the bottom-land without 
any earth-work. This would indicate that the works are very 
old, and were, in fact, built when the waters covered the bottom- 
land. It may be said, in this connection, that all the covered 
ways are similar to these; they end at the second terrace, and 

were evidently built 
when the flood- 
plain was filled with 
water. As addition- 
al evidence that the 
works at Ports- 
mouth were devot- 
ed to the water cult 
and were similar to 
those at Avebury, 
in Great Britain, we 
would again refer to 
the character of the 
works at either end 
of the avenues. 
Without insisting 

Fig. t.-ESlgy on the Scioto. ^^^^ ^^^ serpent 

symbol being embodied in the avenues, we think it can be 
proven that the most striking features of the work at Avebury 
are duplicated here; the sun symbol being embodied in the con- 
centric circles upon the Kentucky side; the phallic symbol in 
the horse-shoe mounds upon the Ohio side (see Figs, i, 2, 3) and 
the avenues of standing stones corresponded to the covered ways 
which connected the enclosures on the Kentucky side with that 
on the Ohio side. 

The group on the third terrace is the one which is the most sig- 
nificant. Here the circle surrounds the horseshoe, as the circle 
of stones does at Avebury. Here, too, is a natural elevation that 
has been improved by art, and made to serve a religious pur- 
pose. Mr. T. W. Kinney says this mound, which was a natural 
elevation, was selected as the site for a children's house. In ex- 
cavating the cellar there >vas discovered a circular altar composed 
of stones which were standing close together, and showed evi- 



dence of heat. This altar was four feet below the surface. Lead- 
ing from the altar was a channel about eighteen inches wide, 
composed of clay, which was supposed to be designed to " carry 
off the blood", givingthe idea that human sacrifices were offered 
here, as they were upon the altars at Avebury. Squier and 
Davis say that the horse-shoes constitute the most striking feat- 
ures; they are both about the same size^and shape. They meas- 
ure about eighty feet in length and seventy feet in breadth. 
Enclosing these in part is a wall about five feet high. These 
horse-shoes might well be called coves. The ground within them 
was formerly perfectly level. They open out toward the river 
and were on the edge of the terrace, and so were elevated above 
the surro un di ng 
country and were 
in plain sight. Near 
them was a natural 
elevation eighteen 
feet high, but grad- 
ually subsiding into 
a ridge towards the 
enclosed mound. A 
full view of the en- 
tire group may be 
had from its sum- 
mit. The enclosed 
mound was twenty- 
eight feet high by 
one hundred and 
ten feet base. It is 
truncated and surrounded by a low circumvallation. As addi- 
tional evidence to this, we may mention here the great wor s 
situated about a mile west. See Fig. 4. Here is a group of ex- 
quisite symmetry and beautiful proportions. It consists of an 
embankment of earth, five feet high, thirty feet base, with an in- 
terior ditch twenty-five feet across and six feet deep. Enclosed 
is an area ninety feet in diameter; in the center of this is a 
mound forty feet in diameter and eight feet high. There is a 
narrow gateway through the parapet, and a causeway over the 
ditch leading to the enclosed mound. This is a repetition of the 
central mound with its four concentric circles. It is said that 
there was near this a square enclosure resembling the chunky 
yards of the South, and that the group taken together was of a 
Southern type. There are several small circles, measuring from 
one hundred and fifty to two hundred and fifty feet in diameter; 
also a few mounds in the positions indicated in the plan.* 

Most noticeable is a mound within four concentric circles, placed 

*Mounds like this are common In this district and may be regarded as sun sym- 
bols. See the cut of works at Portsmouth; also of terraced mound in Greenup 
County, Kentucky, and at Winchester, Indiana. 


tS^i9*r*JL hyJt.QS^uia, ^m^ £ //.J>a^. 

Fig. S.—Sun Circles, 



at irregular intervals in respect to each other. These were cut 
at right angles by four broad avenues which conform nearly to 
the cardinal points. From the level summit of this mound a 
complete view of every part of this work is commanded. On 
the supposition that it was in some way connected with religious 
rites, the mound afforded the most conspicuous place for their 
observance. See Fig. 3. 

" The mound in the center, at first glance, might be taken for 
a natural elevation. It is possible that it is a detached spur of 
the hill enlarged and modified by art. It is easy while standing 
on the summit of this mound to people it with the strange 

J^'iy. U — 'Iti racKd MuiinO, op/juaiie 2'oriAiiioMn. 

priesthood of ancient superstition and fill its walls with the 
thronging devotees of mysterious worship. The works were de- 
voted to religious purposes and were symbolic in their design."* 
Atwater speaks of this group as having wells in close proximity 
to the horse-shoes. He speaks of the earth between the parallel 
walls as having been leveled by art and appear to have been 
used as a road-way by those who came down the river for the 
purpose of ascending the high place. We have dwelt upon these 
peculiarities of the works at Portsmouth for the very reason that 
they seem to prove the existence of a water cult, and because it 
so closely resembles those in which the water cult has been rec- 
ognized in Great Britain. We maintain, however, that it was a 
cult which was associated with sun worship, and that the phallic 
symbol was embodied here. We maintain that sacrifices were 
offered to the sun, and that the human victims were kept in the 
corral on one side of the river ; that they were transported across 
the water and carried up to the third terrace, and immolated 

•Ancient Monuments, page 82. 



near the horseshoe, and that afterwards the processions passed 
down the terrace, through the avenue, across the river, a second 
time, and mounted the spiral pathway to the summit of the ter- 
raced mound situated at the end of the avenue. 

In reference to this corral, so called (see Fig. 5). we may say 
that the walls surrounding the area are very heavy, and are 
raised above the area enclosed, in places as much as fifty feet. 
They convey the 
idea that the en- 
closure was for 
holding captives, 
for they resemble 
the walls of a state's 
prison rather than 
those of a fort ; be- 
ing level on the top 
and made as if de- 
signed for a walk 
for sentinels. The 
parallel walls or 
covered ways on 
each side of this 
enclosure have an 
explanation from 
this theory. They 
were built to the 
end of the terrace 
and were probably 
intended to protect 
the sentinels who 
were stationed at 
the ends. They 
command exten- 
sive views, both up 
and down the river, 
and were conve- 
nient places from 
which to watch the 
enemy, as they 

might approach to release the captives. The groups upon the 
Kentucky side and the efifigies on the Scioto are connected with 
these horse-shoes and with one another by the avenues. The 
group to the east is the most interesting on account of its sym- 
bolism, and the interesting part of it is the mound with the 
spiral pathway. 

2. The works at Newark are next to be considered. These 
works are described in the chapter on "sacred" or village en- 
closures, but we take them up here in connection with the water 

Fig. 5.— Corral. 


cult. The most remarkable feature of this entire group of works 
is that presented by the various lines of parallel walls, which ex- 
tend from one enclosure to another, and from the enclosures to 
the water's edge. There were five sets of parallels: One has 
been traced from the octagon westward for about two miles; 
another extends from the octagon toward the large square for 
about a mile in length ; a third extends from the octagon to the 
bottom-land, and probably once reached the water's edge; a fourth 
extended from the circle called the old fort to the square; a 
fifth extended from an irregular circle, on the edge of the ter- 
race, to the bottom-land, and, perhaps, to the water's edge. 

One of the peculiarities of these parallels is that the roadway, 
in many places, was elevated above the wall. In the northern 
avenue this elevated grade extends for a quarter of a mile, and is 
broad enough for fifty persons to walk abreast. A similar grade 
is found in the avenue that leads from the large square to the 
irregular circle. The same is true of the parallel leading from the 
large circle, down the terrace, to the South Fork. The bank ot 
the third terrace, here 20 feet high, is cut down and graded to an 
easy ascent. The roadway is elevated above the walls, and ex- 
tends out upon the alluvial bottoms beyond the wall. A similar 
grade is constructed at the extremity of the northern wall. 
There was a road excavated into the terrace for one hundred 
and fifty feet, but the earth was used to form an elevated way 
over the low, swampy ground at the foot of the terrace. These 
excavations constitute quite an imposing feature when seen on 
the spot. The inquiry is, what was the object in erecting these 
parallel walls, and making such elevated roadways, with grades 
at the ends of the roads leading to the bottom-lands? The water 
is now not there and the grade seems to be useless. One sup- 
position is, that at the time the works were erected, the water 
flowed over the first terrace and washed up to the foot of the 
second terrace; and that these grades were used for canoe land- 
ings.* Why are the roadways elevated and made so broad? 
Were they designed for the passage of armies, with troops 
marching abreast? Were they designed for religious proces- 
sions, which were led from the water to the sacred enclosures? 
Let us examine the works moie particularly. Squier and Davis 
say that a number of small circles were found within the paral- 

*Mr. Isaac Smucker says the terrace was fltty feet above the bottom land; very few 
mounds and no walls on the bottom lands. He thinks one set of parallels may have 
led across Licking Creek to Lancaster. He says that formerly there was a tort on a 
hill to the west of these works; a fort, which contained lifty acres, whose walls 
were conformed to the outline of the hill. This may have been another of the hill 
forts, which were used by the sun worshipers as a refuge when their villages were 
attacked. He also says that the works extended from the Raccoon to the Licking 
and covered the plain. The octagon was on the bank of one stream, the irregular 
circle and graded way near the forks, and the parallel led toward the other stream. 
The alligator etiig.v and the fort referred to were several miles west. He speaks of a 
reservoir or artificial lake, twenty rods in diameter, and a sugar-loaf mound, about 
fifteen teet high, situated on one of the bluffs, also of a crescent earth-work and large 
enclosure between the alligator mound and the old fort. See American Antiquarian. 
Vol. VII, Page 349. 


lels, — they probably mark the site of ancient circular dwellings. 
Circles having diameters of one hundred feet, with ditches inter- 
ior to the walls, and elevated embankments interior to the ditch, 
are also seen at various points at the ends and along the sides of 
the covered way. These circles, with their enclosed crescents, 
betray a coincidence with those connected with the squares and 
covered ways at Hopeton, at Highland and elsewhere. May 
they not have been circles in which religious houses were placed? 
There is one circumstance which favors this supposition. Mr. 
Isaac Smucker says there was a group of burial mounds near 
the old fort, around which was a paved circle eight feet wide, — 
the mounds being closely connected at the base. Each one of 
the mounds was made up of a series of layers of earth alternating 
with layers of sand, followed by layers of cobble stone, — the cob- 
ble stones being first placed over a strong burning. In the 
mounds six or eight post holes were discovered filled with sand ; 
the center post extending down several feet. The conclusion 
was, that the conical buildings and rotundas had been built upon 
these mounds; and that fires and burials or burnings had taken 
place in the rotundas. Different hearths or fire beds had been 
built inside, making different occasions of sacrifice. Mr. I. 
Dille says: "To the east of the line of embankments on the 
second bottom of the creek, are numerous mounds. In 1828, 
when constructing the canal, a lock was built here. Fourteen 
human skeletons were found four feet beneath the surface, some 
of which seemed to have been burned. Over these skeletons, 
carefully placed, was a large quantity of mica in sheets and in 
plates; some of them were eight and ten inches long, and four 
and five inches wide. It is said that from fourteen to twenty 
bushels of this material were thrown out." 

We are to notice, in this connection, the various religious 
works at Newark, i.^he effigies ; there was a bird effigy inside 
the old fort, with its altar; an alligator effigy, with its altar, at 
Granville. 2. The circles; there are circles inside the avenues, 
various circles on the terrace inside the large enclosures ; many 
of these circles have crescents, showing that the moon cult pre- 
vailed. 3. The ponds and water-courses ; the pond near the old 
fort has a peculiar shape. 4. The corrals; the old fort was a good 
specimen; it resembled that at Portsmouth, on the Kentucky 
side ; this had the ditch on the inside and had a high wall, which 
gave the impression that it was designed to hold captives within 
the area rather than to defend the area from an attack from with- 
out. 5. The parallel walls located near the fort; these were 
undoubtedly for the trial of captives, where they ran the gaunt- 
let. 6. The network of walls and gateways ; this can be 
explained only on the supposition that elaborate ceremonies were 
observed here ; the walls can not be regarded as game-drives; 
they may have been designed for protection of the villages, but. 



if so, they were villages of a class of sun-worshipers. But it is 
probable that here all forms of worship — animal worship, fire 
worship, moon worship, water cult — were mingled together and 
brought under the control of the solar cult. 

3. The same lesson is impressed upon us as we go away from this 
series of works and enter the circles and sacred enclosures on 
the Scioto River, on Paint Creek, the Muskingum River, the 
Miami River and the White River. In nearly all of these places 
we find the enclosures having the form of the square and the 
circle, and having about the same area as those of Newark. We 
find also that there are small circles with ditches and small cres- 
cent embankments inside of the circles ; also gateways opening 
toward the enclosures, giving the idea that they were places of 
sacred assembly and at the same time symbolic in character. We 
notice, too, that in many ot the groups there are covered ways 
resembling those at Newark, and that the graded ways generally 

lead from the sacred en- 
closures to the water's 
edge, giving the idea that 
they were used for pro- 
cessions, the water cult 
being common in all of 
the localities. At Mari- 
etta the graded way leads 
from the second terrace 
up to the third terrace, 
and connects the enclos- 
ure and the three temple 
platforms with the river, 
thus giving the impression that they were used for religious 
purposes rather than for warlike, that processions leading captives 
passed from the watpr's edge up to the temples and to the high 
conical mound.* 

Mr. Harris says there was at Marietta a well sixty feet deep 
and twenty feet in diameter, of the kind used in early days, when 
water was brought up in pitchers by steps. This well may have 
been for the convenience of the people living in the enclosures, 
but its proximity to the temple platforms and the conical mound 
and the graded way makes it significant. 

4. The works at Paint Creek. There were wells or reservoirs 
inside both the enclosures at this point. Atwater says in one 
there was a large pond or reservoir fifteen feet deep and thirty-nine 

Fig. 6.— Works at Paint Creek. 

•Squier and Davis say there was a sloping terrace 700 feet wide between the end 
of the covered way and the bank of the river; that there were no works on this ter- 
race, which was about forty or fifty feet above the river. They seem to doubt that the 
river flowed over the terrace at the time that tlie graded way was built. It is possi- 
ble that the village was upon this terrace, and that the inclosure upon the upper 
terrace was the sacred place, where the chiefs dwelt, and that the graded way with 
the protecting walls were designed for processions from the village to the temples, 
though the otner supposition is a plausible one. 



feet in diameter. It was supplied by a rivulet which runs through 
the wall, but at present sinks into the earth. These wells may- 
have been merely for the convenience of the villagers, but there 
are so many places where hot houses or assembly houses were 
placed near ponds of water or streams or springs, we conclude 
that water served an important part in the religious ceremonies. 
These enclosures on Paint Creek contain mounds or sacrificial 
places, which seem to be connected with the ponds. Atwater 
speaks of one covered with stones and pebbles. He says this 
mound was full of human bones. Some have expressed the be- 
lief that on it human beings were once sacrificed. Near this 
was an elliptical mound, built in two stages, one eight feet high, 
the other fifteen feet. On the other side of the large mound was 
a work in the form of a half moon, set round the edges with 
stones, and near this a singular 

.\naent earthwork on tection 16, tovnahip 
9, Donh range 8, Dear Aodersoo, lad- 
I inch— ISO leet 

. — Sacred Enclosure near Anderson. 

mound, five feet high and thirty 
feet in diameter, and composed 
entirely of red ochre, an abund- 
ance of which is found on a hill 
near by. The small circular 
enclosure opens into a large area 
and connects with it by a gate- 
way. Inside the circle is a lesser 
circle, six rods in diameter. 
It seems probable that this cir- 
cle marks the site of the rotunda 
and that the whole enclosure was 
used for sacred purposes, the *^' 
larger enclosure being the place where the imposing religious 
ceremonies were observed. Atwater speaks especially of the 
wells, one of them being inside of the enclosure, near the mound, 
and others outside the walls. It would seem from the proximity 
of the wells to the mounds that there were here the water cult, the 
fire cult, the moon cult combined, and the complicated system 
of religion in which the priests had great power.* See Fig. 6. 

Another locality where the water cult is apparent is on the 
White River, in Indiana. Here, in one place, is a square enclos- 
ure with a diameter of 1320 and 1080 feet, which has a mound 
in the center nine feet high and oneliundred feet in diameter. 
This is on the fair grounds at Winchester. Near Anderson, on 
the banks of the White River, there is a group of small enclos- 
ures. One of these has a constricted elliptical embankment one 
hundred and fifty feet in diameter. Another has a length of two 
hundred and ninety-six feet and a width of two hundred and fifty 
feet, — the wall being thirty-five feet at base and four feet high; 
ditch, eight feet wide, with a gateway which is protected by two 

♦Ancient Works on Paint Creek. 



small mounds. On the same section is a group containing four 
circles, two ellipses, and a terraced mound. The embankment 
ol one at the base is fifty feet wide and nine feet hi§h; the ditch 
is five feet wide, ten and one half feet deep. The central area is 
130 feet in diameter, and contains a mound four feet high and 

30 feet in diameter. The gate- 
way is 30 feet wide. Carriages 
may drive in through the gate- 
way and around the mound 
on the terrace, and have room 
to spare. The group is an in- 
teresting one, and was evident- 
ly designed to be symbolic. 
Other earth-works similar to 
this are found near Cambridge, 
in Wayne County. Here there 
are two circles, with embank- 
ments four feet high, and wide 
enough on the top to allow 
two carriages to pass each 
is on the inside of the embankment, and 
is a circular, level area, with a causeway 
ditch through the gateway. These are situ- 
of the Whitewater River. A passage-way 


Fig. S.—Sun Circle on White River. 

other. The ditch 
within the ditch 
leading across the 

ated on the bank 

leads from the bluff to the water's edge, equally distant 

both circles. 

These circles seem to be all religious symbols, the enclosure 
with the circular mound and 
ditch, and passageway across the 
ditch, being symbolic of the sun, 
the constricted ellipses being a 
symbol which resembles the 
banner stones. The graded ways 
from these small enclosures to 
the water's edge show that with 
the solar cult the water cult was 
here associated. 

There are several structures 
devoted to the water cult on the 

Kanawha River, in West Virgin- ^9. 9-Circle and ElUpse near Anderson, 

ia, and on the Wateree River, in 

North Carolina. These resemble the earth-works in Southern 
Ohio. Their peculiarities are that they are circular enclosures, 
have uniform measurement of 660 feet in circumference, have a 
ditch on the inside and a mound on the inside of the ditch. 
Several of the circles have a truncated mound situated outside 
of the gateway and guarding the entrance, conveying the idea 
that there may have been a rotunda on the summit, and an 

Ancient earthworks on nortljesst comer 
tection 16. township 9. range 8, near Andcr- 
■on, Madison county, Ind. 

I inch-160 tccL 



assembly place or council house inside the circle. There is near 
one of these circles a graded way which leads from the enclosure 
through the terrace down to the bottom land of the Kanawha 
River, a feature which is noticeable in the Ohio mounds, and was 
there ascribed to the water cult. One of these mounds was ex- 
plored and found to contain an altar exactly like the altars in 
Ohio It was covered with charred human bones. There were 
in the same mound, at different depths, skeletons ; one recum- 
bent, two in sitting posture. The altar was at the bottom, this 
showing that the ancient race was the same as the sun worship- 

Fig. 10.— Sun Circles and Graded Way on the Kanaivha River. 

ers of Ohio. But it was followed by others, who built mounds, 
but did not build altars. 

5. The same lesson is conveyed by the graded ways, which have 
been discovered in the Southern States, and which, according to 
Squier and Davis, are quite numerous. Descriptions have been 
given of these by Mr. Bartram, and his explanation of them was 
that they had been used for avenues which connected the estufas 
with the artificial ponds used for bathing. They are called savan- 
nahs, as they are now meadows, but they were once undoubtedly 
filled with water and are artificial. The mounds were probably 
foundations for rotundas. 

Mr. H. S. Halbert has described another mound situated in 
Winston County, Mississippi. Here was a mound about forty 
feet high with a semicircular rampart surrounding it. A road- 
way led from this mound towards the creek, but ended in the 



Flan and S ection. of Altar 



... ■■ JgJ?- 

Fig. 11.— Altar. 


intervening swamp. The Messier mound in Georgia is another 
specimen also. This is a pyramid, which was once surrounded 
by a rampart or wall. There is near it a large, artificial pond, 
covering an area of about two acres, and an immense circular 
well forty-eight feet deep. The mound is one of the largest in the 
Southern States, — 320 feet long, 180 feet wide, 57 feet high, sit- 
uated upon the summit of a hill. It was not erected for defen- 
sive purposes, but as a temple. In 
the religious festivals observed here, 
ablutions served an important part, 
and water was an essential element. 
II. We now come to the system 
of sun worship. This was a very 
extensive system, and one which 
seemed to rule over all others. In 
fact, we may say that all the other 
systems are adjuncts or tributaries 
to this. Sun worship was widely 
distributed, and prevailed among nearly all the districts in the 
Mound-builders' territory, though it is the most prominent in 
the middle and southern districts. It found its highest, or, at 
least, most complicated, development in Southern Ohio. Here 
a very ancient people were devoted to sun worship, whose history 
is unknown, but whose works and relics were left in great num- 
bers. We enter this district, and shall study the earth-works and 
relics here, with the idea that we shall ascertain something about 
the system There is no part of the country where the tokens 
are more suggestive and interesting. In fact, nearly everything 
here is suggestive of this system. A most complicated series of 
earth-works, some of them designed for villages, some of them 
for forts, some for dance circles, some for 
burial places, some for council houses, 
but they were all symbolic. Here were 
also many solid mounds, some of which 
contain altars ; others were sacrificial 
places; others were lookout stations; 
others were temple platforms; others 
were places ot religious assembly; but 
in all of these we find symbols of the 
sun. It would seem as if the sun wor- 
shipers had been so impressed with their 
system that they had used the works 
tors to worship — the hilltops, the valleys, the streams, the very 
springs having been used by them in carrying out the different 
parts of their varied cult. The clan life prevailed here, and clan 
villages were numerous; clan emblems were not uncommon, but 
sun worship was the uniform element with all the clans. This 
uniformity extended not merely to the river system, bringing 

rian of .Star 

■ 'tV -'it 

Fig, 12.— Altar. 

of nature as contribu- 



together the clans scattered along each river, but it extended 
also from river to river, and brought together the people of the 
entire district into one grand confederacy. This confederacy- 
extended from the White River, in Indiana, to the Muskingum, 
in Ohio, and may have embraced all the country between the 
Wabash and the Alleghany Rivers. There are also some evi- 
dences that it extended from Kentucky into West Virginia, and 
that the works upon the Kenawha River and the Licking River 
belonged to the same system. 

The altar mounds described in the cuts (Figs, ii to 14) con- 
tain no relics. The first 
one contained fragments 
of pottery; the second a 
mass of lime and frag- 
ments of calcined shells. 
May it not be 
that pottery 
vessels were 
offered in one 

Fig. IS.-AUar Mound* ^^^ inscribed 

shell gorgets in the other, the fire having reduced these to ashes. 
The other mounds in this enclosure contained altars on which 
offerings of costly and highly wrought relics had been placed — 
two hundred pipes on one, large quantities of galena, thirty 
pounds in all, on another, obsidian arrows and pearl beads on 
another, copper gravers and or- ^ ^ 

naments made of copper and cov- 
ered with silver on another. The 
mica crescent depicted in Fig. 15 
was at the bottom of the largest 
mound, one which overlooked the 
whole group. The crescent was shelving, its outer edge being 
raised a few inches above the inner edge, but there was no altar 
in the mound and no other relics. The location of the group 
of mounds is to be noticed here. "Mound City" is opposite the 

Fig, U.— Altar in Relief. 

*The description of the mounds containing the altars is given in another chap- 
ter The altars represented in cuts 11 and 12 were found in mounds Nos. 2 and 4. No. 
3 contained a double altar. This altar showed marks of intense heat. The rehcs 
which had been offered were varied; arrow-points of obsidian, of limpid quartz, ot 
copper gravers or chisels, copper tubes and carved pipes. In mound No. 8 was an 
altar somewhat resembling thai In Mound No. 2. The deposit on this altar was very 
extensive- 200 pipes carved in stone, pearl and shell beads, discs and tubes niade ot 
copper copper ornaments covered with silver. Masses of copper were found fused 
too^ether In the center of the basin. The pipes were In fragments They represented 
animals, such as the otter, heron, flsh, hawlc with bird in its talons, panther, bear, 
wolf, beaver, squirrel, raccoon, crow, swallow, buzzard,paroquet, toucan, turtle, frog, 
toad, rattlesnake, and a number of sculptured human heads. Mound No. , was the 
one which contained the crescent, Fig. \X It was the largest and highest of the 
group, and commanded a view of the entire group. It contained no altar, merely a 
clay floor, but the crescent was shelving or dish-shaped; the outer edge rested on an 
elevation of sand, six Inches in height. The mica crescent was the chief feature ot 
the mound, though the earth of the mound was Incredibly compact. Mound No. 9 
contained an altar and a layer of charcoal. In the altar were instruments of obsid- 
ian scrolls of mica, traces of cloth, ivory and bone needles, pearl beads. The articles 
contained in the altars show an extensive aboriginal trade as well as an advanced 
stage of art The symbolism contained In the alturs prove that the offerings were 
made to the sun and moon. See chapter on Altars and Ash-pits ; see also figure of 
Mound City. 


enclosure at Hopeton and nearly opposite the square enclosure 
at Cedar Bank. The covered way at Hopeton leads toward 
Mound City. May it not be that this was the way through which 
processions passed on the occasions when the annual burial feast 
or "great burning" took place ? The passage across the river by 
a ferry to the place of burning would resemble the Egyptian 
custom, and would fulfil the picture which Virgil has drawn of 
Charon crossing the river Styx with the souls of the dead.* 

Let us take up the works in detail, and see the symbolism 
contained in them. We notice that there are truncated pyramids 
or platforms in this district, generally inside of square enclosures, 
that they were orientated and had inclined passage-ways to their 
summits. We notice also that there were elliptical and conica' 
mounds inside of the circular enclosures, many of them sur- 
rounded by pavements in the 
form of ellipses and crescents. We 
also notice that these large en- 
closures are always connected by 
parallel walls or covered ways 
with the clusters of small circles 
and crescents; that the altar 
Fig. 15.— Crescent Pavement. mounds are generally surrounded 

by circular walls; that even lookout mounds are inside of circles. 
We notice further that there are terraced mounds with spiral 
pathways on their sides, and many of these have ditches and 
circles surrounding them, some of them have several concentric 
circles. We notice also that some of the enclosures are in the 
shape of constricted ellipses, others have triangular gateways, 
others combine the square and circle in one. We notice also 
that the altars aie carefully built in the form of circles and squares. 
We conclude that a complicated system of symbolism prevailed, 
a symbolism devoted to sun worship. We notice further that 
the relics are symbolic, that while many of the pipes were carved 
in the shape of animals and serpents, some of the tablets were 
inscribed with human tree figures. The mica plates and copper 
ornaments and other metallic relics were in the shape of crescents, 
circles and scrolls. Some of them had the suastika inscribed 
upon them, a mingled symbolism being apparent in the relics. 
We notice still further the resemblance between the earth-works 
and the relics, animal figures being found in some of them, as 
in the pipes, but crescents, circles and scalloped figures in the 
earth-works as well as in the tablets and metallic relics. While 
the suastika has not been recognized in an earth-work, the cross 
has been. The serpent and the bird efifigy are well known, but 
these remind us of the figures on the inscribed shell gorgets so 

•H. S. Halbert speaks of an ancient road which crosses the Tombigbee, connect- 
ing the cemetery on Line Creek In Mississippi and Mound-builders' settlements in 
Alabama. The habit of crossing streams with the bodies of the dead is an old one, 
and was common among the Egyptians and other Eastern nations. 





common in the South, the elliptical enclosure in the body of the 
serpent resembling the same figure on the inscribed shells. 

The earth-works of Ohio were designed to protect the vil- 
lages, which were so numerous there, but they were villages 
which were pervaded by sun worship. The people dwelling 
within them were surrounded by the symbols of the siin and 
followed all the processes of village life under the control of this 
luminary. They went to the fields, to the dance grounds, to the 
places of assembly, to the ponds and streams and springs under 
its protection, and even placed their dead in graves or upon altars 
which were symbolic of the sun. When they conducted war, 
they brought back their captives, kept them for a time in enclos- 
ures consecrated to the sun, and afterwards immolated them as 
victims and perhaps presented their bodies or hearts as offerings 
to the sun, making the remarkable terraced mounds the place 
where this chief rite was celebrated. The platform mounds may 
have been foundations for temples; they were, however, temples 
which were depositories for the bodies of theireminent men, rather 
than assembly places, and were approached by great and solemn 
processions, the graded and covered ways having been built for 
the express purposeof accommodating these ceremonies. There 
was nothing like this among the aborigines of the North or of 
the South, though we imagine that if we substituted stone mon- 
uments for the earth-works that the Druidic system which pre- 
vailed in Great Britain would fit the frame and make the two 
pictures very similar. There was no living race in America 
that had any such symbolism or customs. The nearest approach 
to it would be the confederacies of the South, that were in the 
midst of the pyramids, and who occupied them, though they 
may not have built them. 

The similarity between the symbolism of the Ohio Mound- 
builders and that of the stone grave people will be seen from an 
examination of the cuts. See Plate IV. These cuts repre- 
sent the shell gorgets found in these graves, as well as in the 
southern and southeastern mounds. In the gorgets the serpents 
are coiled and the concentric circles have symbols of the sun and 
moon and stars between them, as the squares have birds' heads 
at their sides and loops at their corners, but the figures are the 
same and the significance similar to those contained in the cir- 
cles, squares and serpent effigies of Ohio. 

Let us now draw the comparison between these works and 
those found in the Southern States. The Mound-builders of the 
South were evidently sun worshipers, but they embodied their 
« system in an entirely different series of works, the pyramids being 
the chief structure of that region. There are contrasts and resem- 
blances — contrasts in the works, resemblances in the relics. We 
have opportunity of studying this contrast in this locality. The 
pyramid builders reached as far north as the Ohio River and 



Vincennes on the Wabash, and we find that while they were sun 
worshipers, there was another class of sun worshipers alongside 
of them, who adopted the circle as their symbol, and built their 
structures in this form. Here we call attention to the large group 
of mounds which surrounds the city of Vincennes. Dr. Patton 
says of these: "The beautiful valley in which Vincennes now 
stands was doubtless the site of a great city occupied by the 
Mound-builders. There is a line of elevation surrounding this 
valley on the north, 
south and east, and 
from the'great num- 
ber of mounds in 
the locality, and the 
large size of some 
of them, and the 
relics found we may 
suppose that the 
region was densely 
populated by an an- 
cient people whose 
history is veiled in 
obscurity." He 
speaks of the prob- 
ability of some of 
the large mounds 
having been used 
for sacrificial or cre- 
mation purposes. 
The mounds are 
called mounds of 
habitation, lookout 
mounds, temple 
mounds and terrace 
mounds. The pyr- 
amid mound, one 
mile to the south 
of Vincennes, is 
surrounded by a 
cluster of small 


iiBiiiho»iiity covftrr two* 
JaM.M'^utt Survty*r. 

Fig. 10.— Works at Alexander sville. 

mounds, is 350x150 feet at the base, and 47 feet high. The 
sugar-loaf mound, just east of the city, is 216x180 feet, and 70 
feet high. The mound one mile northeast of Vincennes has a 
diameter of 366x282 feet, and rises to an elevation of 6y feet 
above the plain. The top is level, with an area of 10x50 feet. 
A winding roadway from the east furnished the votaries an easy 
access to the summit. 

We may suppose that Vincennes marks the eastern extremity 
of this confederacy, of which the great Cahokia mound was the 





center, while the werks on the White River marked the western 
extremity oi the Ohio district, the two classes being brought 
into close proximity. We may notice the contrast between them. 
It may be that the Mound-builders of the Wabash River and of 
the Miami River migrated south at the incursion of the savage 
Indians and became the pyramid-builders of the Gulf States, one 
class erecting the pyramids on the Mississippi and the other those 
on the Atlantic coast. In that case, we shall be studying the 
relics of the same people when we take up the shell gorgets and 
the tablets of the South. 

Passing out from this region on the Wabash River, where there 
are so many pyramids, we come to the region where the circles 
are so numerous. We first find some of these on the White 
River, some of which have already been described. They be- 
come more numerous as we reach the Big Miami, the works at 
Alexandersville and at Worthington (see Figs, i6 and 17) being 
notable specimens. The works at Worthington are very inter- 
esting. There is here a square enclosure whose diameters are 
630x550 feet. It is orientated. At one corner of this is the 
small circle, 120 feet in diameter, whose gateway is in line with 
that of the square. On the wall is the truncated cone, 20 feet in 
height and 190 feet in diameter. Opposite the circle, on the 
bank of the stream, is the small circle with three openings. This 
circle has a ditch inside, and seems to combine the circle, the 
square and triangle 
in one. The author 
discovered at one 
time a group simi- 
lar to this, at Fred- 
ericksburg, twenty 
miles north of New- 
ark. Here were the 
triangle, the square 
and the circle all 
combined in one. 
Near by was an- 
other enclosure, 
which was even 
more striking in its 
shape. It was sit- 
uated on the bank of a beautiful stream and was in the midst of 
a fine forest of maples. The wall was in the shape of an ellipse 
with scalloped sides and ends, the curves being very grace- 
ful. Within the walls was the ditch, which had varying widths. 
The platform within the ditch was rectangular. From the center 
of the platform a symmetrical oval mound rose to the height of 
fifteen feet. This was leveled at the top, but its base just fitted 
the platform, the ends and sides extending to the ditch. No one 

AifSHEHT wnsmiKa, 

' Chat ffhtitUsty Sut'r^fm^. 


900 a to Ik* b«h 

Fig, 17,— Works at Worthington^ Ohio. 



who had seen this group could deny the taste and skill of the 
Mound-builders, or doubt that some of their works were erected 
for ornament and for the embodiment of a religious symbolism. 
We come next to the works on the Little Miami. These have 
recently been explored under the auspices of the Peabody Mu- 
seum. Prof. Putnam says: "In this region are some of the 
most extensive ancient works of Ohio, such as Fort Ancient, 
with its walls of earth from twelve to twenty feet high, enclosing 
over a hundred acres; Fort Hill, with its surrounding walls of 
stone, enclosing about forty acres; the great serpent effigy, more 
than a thousand feet in length, the interesting works at High 
Bank, at Cedar Bank and at Hopeton, with their squares and 
circles, besides hundreds of mounds measuring from a foot or 
two in height to others forty or fifty feet in height. Here we have 
found elaborately constructed works of a religious character. 
Here, too, as offerings during some religious ceremony, we have 
found the most remarkable objects that have yet been taken 

Fig. IS.— Spool Ornaments and Cross from Stone Graves.* 

from ancient works in the United States — small carved terra 
cotta"figurines," representing men and women; ornaments made of 
native gold, silver, copper and meteoric iron; dishes elaborately 
carved in stone; ornaments made of stone, shell, mica, and the 
teeth and bones of animals; thousands of pearls perforated for 
ornaments; knives of obsidian; all showing that the intercourse 
of the people of that time extended from the copper and silver 
region of Lake Superior on the north to the home of the marine 
shells in the Gulf of Mexico on the south; to the mica mines 
of North Carolina on the east and the obsidian deposits of the 
Rocky Mountains on the west." 

The beautiful location of this group of earth-works indicates 
that in this locality there must have been a great population, the 
relics containing evidence of the wealth of the builders, as well as 
the religious character of the works themselves. Near this 
group of works the explorers found in the burying place of the 
sun worshipers a number of graves containing skeletons attended 

*We would here acknowledge our obligation to General G. P. Thruston, who has 
kindly loaned us the cuts which he has used in illustrating his excellent work on 
'The Antiquities of Tennessee." 



by a large sea shell made into a drinking cup and a number of 
shell beads, and enclosed in the bones of each hand a spool- 
shaped ornament made of copper, a copper pin, a wooden bead 
covered with thin copper, several long, sharp-edged, flint knives 
of the same shape and character as obsidian flakes from Mexico. 
Of the ear ornaments, Prof Putnam says: "I have never found 
them in any of the several thousand stone graves of the Cum- 
berland Valley which I have explored, nor have we found traces 
of them among the hundreds of graves associated with the sin- 
gular ash-pits in the cemeteries which we have explored in the 
Little Miami Valley, nor with the skeletons buried in the stone 
mounds of Ohio. They seem to 
be particularly associated with 
a people with whom cremation 
of the dead, while a rite, was not 
general, and who built the great 
earth-works of the Ohio Valley. 
I can further say that in all re- 
cent Indian graves I have opened 
this peculiar kind of ornament 
has not been found; we have 
certainly found them in such con- 
ditions in Ohio that they must 
have been buried with their own- 
ers long before the times of Co- 
lumbus." One peculiarity of the 
altars is that they seem to have 
been emptied and used over and 
over again, but the bones and 
ashes were removed and buried 
bv themselves. In reference to ^ . ,T . 

/ , , . , T^ /• T-k i Fig- 19.— Pipe from Elowah Mound, 

the locality Prof Putnam says : 

" The more we examine these works the more interesting and 
instructive they become ; we have already spread before us the 
outlines of a grand picture of the singular ceremonies connected 
with the religion and mortuary customs of a strange people." 

Spool ornaments have since been found among the stone graves 
and described by Gen. Thruston. Fig. i8. The cross was found 
in the Big Harpeth works in Tennessee. One of the spools — 
No. 2 — was found in a large mound, embedded in ashes, south 
of Nashville. This had a thread of vegetable fibre about the 
central shaft. The other — No. 3 — was found in a mound in 
the Savannah works. The little copper awl, with horn handle, 
was found on Rhea's Island, Tennessee. Gen. Thruston says in 
reference to these spools that their similarity to those of Ohio 
illustrates the intercourse which prevailed during prehistoric 
times. We call attention to the idol pipes; the one represented 
in the cut (Fig. 19) was taken from the great Etowah mound in 


Georgia, ploughed up near the base of the pentagonal pyramid. 
It may have been used by one of the ancient caciques in blowing 
or puffing tobacco smoke to the sun at his rising, as was their 
habit. It shows the prevalence of sun worship during prehistoric 
times. The Mound-builders of this section had many idol or 
image pipes. Some of these pipes represented females holding 
pottery vessels, others males holding pipes; the sex being dis- 
cernible in the faces and by the utensils used; the faces always 
directed towards the sun. 

What is peculiar about the works in Ohio is that the very 
mounds where so many relics were discovered and where offer- 
ings had evidently been made were in circular enclosures which 
were sacred to the sun. The dimensions of the enclos- 
ures are as follows: That upon the hill was a perfect circle, 550 
feet in diameter ; contained a large mound, in which was a stone 
wall, four feet high, surrounding an altar of burned clay, from 
which objects of shell, stone, copper were taken. A graded way 
from the top of the hill to the level land below connects the cir- 
cle above with an oval enclosure, whose greatest diameter is 1500 
feet. Near this oval is an earth circle, 300 feet in diameter, and 
in the circle a small mound. At the foot of the graded way is 
another small circle, enclosing a burial mound and a group of 
altar mounds, around each of which is a circular wall. Here, 
then, we have the same symbol as at Portsmouth — a conical 
mound inside of a circular enclosure, and what is more the 
mound has proved, after excavation, to contain an altar and 
relics upon the altar, thus confirming the thought that this was 
a symbol of the sun. 

The works at Cedar Banks suggest the same combination. 
This work is situated upon a table-land. It consists of a square 
enclosure, 1400 feet wide, 1050 feet in length, with tA\o gateways 
60 feet wide, and an elevated platform 250 feet long, 150 feet 
broad and 4 feet high, which is ascended from the ends by graded 
ways 30 feet broad, and in all respects resemble the truncated 
pyramids at Marietta. About 300 feet distant from the enclos- 
ure are the singular parallel walls, connected at the ends, 870 feet 
long and 70 feet apart. About one third of a mile south is a 
truncated pyramid, 120 feet square at the base, 9 feet in height, 
and a small circle, 250 feet in diameter, with an entrance from 
the south 30 feet wide. The sides of the pyramids correspond 
to the cardinal points. The circle has a ditch interior to the 
embankment. It has also a semi-circular embankment interior 
to the ditch, opposite the entrance. The group is so disposed as 
to command a fine view of the river terraces below it. The head 
land seems to have been artificially smoothed and rounded. See 
Plate III. 

It is difficult to determine the design of these works. The 
most plausible theory is that the truncated pyramid within the 



square enclosure was the site of a temple or depository for the 
dead; that the small circle and small pyramid were covered with 
religious houses resembling rotundas ; that the parallel lines 
were devoted to the trial of prisoners or captives, and that the 
whole group was used for religious purposes. 

We pass from this region to Circleville (see Fig. 20), at the 
head of the Scioto River. Here was formerly a group of mounds 
which were the first ever explored. The exploration called at- 
tention to the ancient works of the State. Here were a large 
circle and square. Within the circle the conical mound, sur- 
rounding the mound a crescent-shaped fire-bed or pavement, 
composed of pebbles extending six rods from the base of the 

Ar?i;3ENT ,S7©SKS 


O :' 

■a.-^. -j-u,^.-Mu i-A-A 


Staff ^ if<W 

Fig. 20.— Circle and Crescent at Circleville. 

mound. Over the pavement was a raised way, which led from 
the area ot the enclosure to the summit of the mound, the in- 
clined passage or bridge making the ascent easy. The crescent 
pavement attracted attention and was a very interesting feature 
of the work. It may be that fire was kept burning in this pave- 
ment and that the passage to the summit of the mound was 
through the fire. Atwater says that the pavement was east of 
the central mounds and extended six rods from it. The mound 
was 10 feet high, several rods in diameter at the base; 26 feet in 
diameter at the summit. The circle was surrounded by two 
walls, with a ditch between, — the height being 20 feet from the 
bottom of the ditch. They were picketed. The walls of the 
square were 10 feet high, and had eight gateways with watch 
towers or mounds, 4 feet high, inside the gateways. 


Two human skeletons were found lying on the original surface 
of the earth, with charcoal and wood ashes, several bricks, well 
burned, a quantity of spear heads, a knife of elk's horn, a large 
mirror, made of mica, three feet in length, one and one half feet 
in breadth, one half inch in thickness. The skeleton had been 
burned in a hot fire, which had almost consumed the bones. 
The tumulus outside of the circle contained many skeletons that 
were laid horizontally with their heads toward the center, feet 
out. Beside the skeletons were some stone axes, knives and 
perforated tablets. The fosse near the mound, which contained 
skeletons, was semicircular in shape. 

Here, then, we have the symbolism of the fire cult, of the 
moon cult, and the solar cult, and -we imagine the ceremonies 
observed were symbolic. It was the custom of the East to make 
the victims pass through the fire. It is possible that the same 
was practiced here, and that human sacrifice was offered on this 
mound. The crescent pavement is to be noticed, for there were 
others resembling it. Mr. S. H. Brinkley speaks of a pavement 
surrounding a large mound, near the Big^ Twin Fort. This 
pavement was to the east of the mound and was crescent 
shaped; it was ninety feet in width, and extended under the foot 
of the mound. To the west of the mound, on the edge of the 
bluff, and below the bluff, was an immense heap of ashes, ten 
feet deep. The mound was elliptical in form and was perched 
upon the brow of the bluff in a sightly place, Mr. Brinkley 
thinks the ashes were the result of cremated remains ; and he is 
a very careful observer. From the quantity of ashes, we judge 
that the fire must have been long continued. Here, then, we 
have again a crescent shaped pavement associated with fire and 
ashes. The significance of these different works will be under- 
stood if we compare the rites and the ceremonies of the sun 
worshippers of this district with those which prevailed in Syria 
and Phoenicia, in Old Testament times. The pavement of the 
crescent suggests the idea that the victims passed through the 
fire. The ashes within the mound suggest human sacrifices. The 
position of the bodies indicates that they were sacrifices to the 
sun. The height of the works suggest the thought that there 
were temples upon them which were devoted to the sun, 




The study of the relics of the Mississippi Valley has been 
followed by various archaeologists for fifty years or more, with 
such diligence that we have now, a fairly reliable source of evi- 
dence as to the actual condition of the people who occupied 
that valley during prehistoric times. The work of gathering 
the relics has been followed from different motives and with 
varied success. But, notwithstanding the desultory method, 
the result has been productive of good, and all that the student 
has to do now, is to go to the various museums, where private 
collections are sure to be gathered in course of time, and there 
study the relics at his leisure. Of course the absence of the 
people who used the relics will be felt, and the want of familiar- 
ity with the life which once existed, but which has so greatly 
changed, will be realized; still, to the one who has read history 
and is familiar with archaeology, there is no great difficulty in 
rehabilitating the scene and repeopling the land with a popu- 
lation which shall correspond to that which has long since 
passed away. It is, however, not merely by taking one locality 
or one tribe, or even one period of occupation, that the com- 
plete lesson is to be learned, but rather by taking the whole 
great valley through which the Mississippi River and its 
branches have flowed for ages, as the field for study; then 
familiarizing oneself with its physical features, its varied 
scenery, its diverse natural products, its separate divisions, and 
its former inhabitants, with the various wild animals and crea- 
tures which formerly prevailed, and imagme the whole scene 
to be filled with a diverse population, each engaged in its 
own activities. 

There may, indeed, come before the mind various visions 
which are unreal, and one may imagine a succession of popu- 
lation which never existed. He may picture out scenes and 
events which never occurred, anc^ yet when one considers the 
isolation of the continent in prehistoric times and especially 
the isolation of this particular region from all other regions in 
the continent, there is not so much danger of going astray as 
some have imagined. One good result has followed from the 
discussion which has gone on during the last half century con- 
cerning the difference between the Mound-Builders and the 
Indians, viz., by this means all the vague and visionary views of 
the visits and sojourns of foreign people who occupied the 
region and mysteriously disappeared, have been dispelled, and 
we are now reduced to the necessity of taking the Indians, 
even in their degenerate condition, as the sole survivors and 


only representatives of the people who formerly dwelt upon 
this continent, only taking the liberty to designate their former 
condition by using the term " Mound-Builders," and their 
present condition by using the term " Indian." 

We have already made a map of this valley showing the 
character of the mounds, and another map which shows 
the location of the various tribes, and the reader has undoubt- 
edly noticed the correlation between the two maps. But the 
filling in of the outlines and the peopling of the scene has 
been left altogether to the imagination. 

The work now is to study the relics which have been gath- 
ered from these different districts, and draw the comparison 
between them, so that the two maps may be equally instructive, 
one map serving as a back-ground, the other map serving as a 
composition or outline. But the relics themselves serve as the 
different parts of a mosaic which may help to bring out the 
figures and make them even more life-like. 

In fact this work has been accomplished by some of the 
State Museums, and whole volumes have been written upon 
the relics and published at the expense of the State, so that it 
is an easy task now to identify the relics which belong to a 
limited district, and understand the peculiar style of art which 
prevailed in that locality, and even apprehend the mode of 
life which was led by the prehistoric people who lived there. 
This is the work which the archaeologist has before him. It is 
not merely the collecting of relics, either as curiosities or as 
works of art, but the recognition of the life which was led by 
those who wrought out and used the relics that he has set be- 
fore him. 

It will be the object of this chapter to so describe the relics 
which have been discovered in the various portions of the 
Mississippi Valley, that the reader may discover the unity and 
diversity which prevailed among the prehistoric populations, 
and gain a picture of the condition of each particular district 
in prehistoric times. 

It is to be noticed that there is a correlation between the 
artifacts of each particular locality and the physical surround- 
ings, so close that one may read the various collections as he 
would read a book, and learn through them the employments 
and modes of life of the people who dwelt in the locality. 

There were in this Valley several distinct stocks, each of 
which was divided up into two or three distinct tribes; each 
tribe was divided into clans, and each clan having its own vil- 
lages and clan habitat, so that the collecting of relics from 
each locality into some large museum is equal to furnishing 
che local documents by which the history of a people may be 
learned. There is often an advantage in taking the descriptions 
which have been written by some intelligent collector, then 
placing them together with others, and from the whole series 
learn the style which prevailed with the particular tribes, and 



at the same time recognize the difference between the tribes. 
There is, however, a work for the student which is broader than 
this. It is to take the literature which has been written about 
the different tribes, and from this learn the life which was 
formerly led, and by this means apprehend the significance of 
each article which may have been preserved, and by readjusting 
the fragments really get a new mosaic of the same scene. 

Some may say that the history of the Indian tribes is not 
important enough to give so much attention to it; the}' are a 
doomed race and are likely to disappear. But this is not be- 
coming to any man who is engaged in the study of ethnology, 
and is not worthy of notice. It is, however, not merely a 
question about the Indians, for there is hidden behind the 
record contained in the relics another question in reference to 
the origin of the Mound-Builders and the Indians and their 

Effigy Pipe. • Bear Pipe. 

relation to the tribes and races of the Old World, and the 
larger question of the peopling of the continent is brought be- 
fore us by the solution of this problem. The similarity of the 
customs of all people who have reached certain stages is also 
made apparent, and the whole subject of the origin of art, the 
origin of religion, the growth of civilization, are all concerned 
in the answer which we shall receive, from the study of the 
rude and primitive objects which lie buried in the mounds. 
There are, to be sure, many theories which are liable to mislead 
us; one of which is the theory that we find the traces of a 
preceding civilization; another, which is just the opposite, is 
that we shall find a development on this continent entirely 
separate and distinct from all others. The two extremes are 
the result of theories rather than actual evidence. 

I. We begin with the northern district, that which was 
situated on the St. Lawrence ^River, and extended from the 


New England coaSt to Georgian Bay, a region which was 
occupied by the great Iroquois stock, a stock which was 
divided into several great tribes, — the Hurons, who were situ- 
ated north of the St. Lawrence River; the Eries, on the south 
shore of Lake Erie; the six tribes that formed the Iroquois 
confederacy in the State of New York, including the Tus- 
caroras, who were formerly situated south of the Potomac. 
East of these were the various Algonquin tribes, who dwelt in 
the region covered now b}' the New England States. South of 
them were other Algonquin tribes, such as the Delawares, 
Powhattans, and the Shawnees; and in the same region were 
various tribes belonging to the great Dakota stock. Now, it is 
a singular fact that the relics of the Iroquois, the Algonquins, 
and the Dakotas, were scattered over adjoining regions, yet 
they were so unlike in their form and appearance and general 
character, that it is easy to distinguish them from one another, 
and so we have the means by which we may ascertain the mode of 
life which was followed by these tribes even in prehistoric times. 

The Algonquins of New England never built mounds and, 
therefore, their relics are left out of the account, and we are 
shut into the limited district covered by the Iroquois and their 
congeners. It is to be noticed that throughout this entire 
region there was a peculiar form of clay pipe, which is easily 
recognized as belonging to the Iroquois stock, and which we 
are able to identify wherever found. (See cut.) No such pipes 
were ever wrought by any other stock, though stone pipes 
having somewhat the same shape have been found further 
west. Many of these pipes are portraits and are made to repre- 
sent the human form, though it is difficult to recognize a re- 
semblance to people. The pottery found in this district 
was of an inferior grade, and was generally plain and coarsely 
wrought. The wampum belts were more numerous among this 
people than any other tribe, and were generally wrought with 
great care and were preserved as tribal possessions. 

Copper relics were not so numerous as they were among 
the tribes farther north and west, for the reason that the cop- 
pea mines were at a distance and were in the territory belong- 
ing to hostile tribes. Still, the discovery of copper relics at a 
considerable depth on the south shore of Lake Ontario shows 
that copper was used by these people in ancient times. Mr. 
W. M. Beauchamp says: 

Besides one hundred and thirty-five copper beads found in a grave, 
five miles north of Schenectady, Mr. Van Epps reported a native copper 
axe in the American Antiquarian for 1894, found twenty years earlier. Mr. 
J. W. Nelson reported a fragment of native copper with silver veins, and 
a double-pointed knife, four inches long. In 1901 Mr. L. Ogden of Penn 
Yann, obtained a fine copper spear, si.\ inches long. Copptr articles were 
fouud in opening a mound at Mt. Morris, in 1835. Among Canadian relics 
is a Dative copper knife, found with two others on Wolf's Island. 

A native copper celt with flanged socket, and a nati\'e cop- 
per knife from Plattsburg, also native copper spears from 



Saratoga Lake, copper celts from Seneca River, copper spears 
from Cayuga Lake, anothe'- from Oneida Lake, two native cop- 
per spears with flanged sockets from Oswego, N. Y.; a copper 
knife from Venice, N. Y.; a copper axe from Auburn, copper 
celts and arrows from Oxford and Pompey, and a large num- 
ber of other relics, are depicted in Mr. Beauchamp's Report. 

Horn and bone implements are very numerous. They con- 
sist of bone awls, bone pins, bone knives, spatulas, bone arrows, 
bone chisels, punches, needles, whistles, beads, pendants, be- 
sides a large number of bone and teeth ornaments, such as 
beads, bear's teeth, bone carx'ed as human heads, bone pipes, 
crescents, bone images, combs, and along with these, imple- 
ments used for fishing, such as fishhooks, harpoons and spears, 
in great variety of patterns. These also are depicted in Mr. 
Beauchamp's report on horn and bone implements. 

Occasionally there are found in the Iroquois district orna- 
ments made of slate, which resemble those of Ohio, but they 

Maces and Badges from Ohio. 

were probably gained in trade, and were not common among 
the Iroquois. By far the most common relics aie those which 
were used in war, such as spears and arrows, 'there are in the 
New Yotk collections large numbers of pestles which were 
used in pounding the grain. Most of them were straight in 
shape, without a flange at the end. Some of them were three 
feet long, and were probably used in deep mortars made of 

II. The second district is very interesting because of the 
tact that the art of the Stone Age was so much more advanced 
there than it was elsewhere, and especially because of the fact 
that so many different tribes passed through the region, each 
leaving traces of themselves in the relics which have been dis- 
covered. This was the home of the Mound-Builders " par 
excellence," for the mounds are found here in greater number 
and in greater variety than in any other part of the continent, 
and in fact in any part of the world. What is more, the 



mounds contain a greater number of relics. Some of them show 
a great proficiency in art. This district is situated in Southern 
Ohio, and extended from the mouth of Grave Creek in West 
Virginia to the mouth of the Miami River, but included its 
tributaries and all the region both sides of the Ohio River 
between those two points. 

The relics and remains are found at different depths, and so 
present different "horizons," but they are all so highly wrought 
and so well finished that it is easy to distinguish them from 
those which were left by later Indian tribes. These horizons 
show that there were different tribes which dwelt in the region 
during the mound-building period, each of which was consider- 
ably advanced in their art. It is difficult to decide what these 
tribes were, but if we take the traditions which are still extant 
among the tribes which formerly dwelt in the Mississippi Val- 
ey, but are now in the Indian reservations, we may at least 

Portrait Pipes from Ohio. 

form conjectures in reference to them; especially as the 
CherokeesandDakotasbothhaveatradition that their ancestors 
dwelt in this region. There is a tradition that was long extant 
among the Iroquois, that they at a very early date united with 
the Delawares in carrying on a war with people who were 
situated on this river and dwelt in villages that were thoroughly 
fortified, but after long and bloody conflicts they were able to 
overcome them and drive them out from their possessions. 
The date of this event is unknown, but it is probable that it 
was before the time of the formation of the Iroquois confed- 
eracy, and perhaps soon after the Iroquois had come into pos- 
session of the territory which they occupied at the opening of 
history, for they speak of migrating together with the Dela- 
wares across a great river, and first carrying on a war with the 
Snake people, and afterward with the people who lived in vil- 
lages. The interpretation of this story has varied according 



to the author who has made a record of it. Heckwelder, who 

was a missionary among the 
Delawares, represents the 
great river, which the two 
tribes crossed before they 
entered the Mound-Builder 
territory, as the Mississippi 
River; while Dr. Horatio 
Hale and Dr. D. G. Brinton, 
judging from the study of 
languages and the names, 
as well as the original docu- 
ments and picture records, 
concludes that it was the 
St. Lawrence rather than 
the Mississippi, and that the 
contest occurred before the 
two tribes had become set- 
tled in any permanent ter- 

The point we shall make 
in this connection is, that 
there were two distinct 
tribes formerly situated on 
the Ohio River, as well as 
two tribes that crossed the 
" Great River." One was 

called the Snake People, because of the fact that the snake or ser- 
pent was their great divinit)' 

and tribal totem. The other 

was the people who were at 

the time called the Alle- 

ghewis, and, according to all 

authorities, were identical 

with the Cherokees. This 

conjecture is confirmed by 

the fact that there are still 

to be seen mounds and 

earthworks in Ohio which 

are quite distinct from one 

another, both in character 

and location. The Great 

Serpent at Brush Creek, in 

Adams County, differs in 

nearly all respects from the 

earthworks which arc found 

in the Scioto Valley, giving 

the idea that they were built p^^^^^.^ ^^^^ ^^.^ 

by two distmct peoples. 

The conjecture formed by the study of the mounds is 

Portrait Pipe from Tennessee. 


that the people whobuilt the Serpent Mound were not contempo- 
raneous with those who built the village enclosures, but pre- 
ceded them; and the tradition represents the wars with the 
Serpent Nation and the AUeghewi as carried on by a long 
succession of chiefs. 

It is also a remarkable fact that the Dakotas have a tradi- 
tion among them that they once occupied the valley of the 
Ohio, and lived in villages and were tillers of the soil; but after 
the appearance of the buffalo herds in their midst, they 
changed their mode of life and became hunters, and followed 
the herds until they reached their later habitat, west of the 
Mississippi River on the banks of the Missouri River. Now, 
the point which we make is this: the serpent effigies which 
have been found in the Dakota territory and on the Mississippi 
and Missouri Rivers at various points, so resemble that found 
in Southern Ohio that they convey the impression that the same 
people built the serpent effigies wherever found. But the 
relics which have been found in the altar mounds and the earth- 
works which constituted the village sites near those mounds, so 
resemble those which are found in the Kanawha Valley and the 
Cherokee territory that they have given rise to the theory 
that the Cherokees were actually the people who built the ma- 
jority of these earthworks. The relics found in the ash-pits, 
and the structures which have been found near them, so 
resemble those found in the Stone Graves, that the conjecture 
is forced upon us that the Shawnees were the third tribe that 
occupied this region before the date of history. 
■ Now, the record which is contained in the earthworks and 
relics is never so reliable as that which comes from the art 
ot writing; but if the study of relics or earthworks is of any 
value to science or history, we ought to gain from it informa- 
tion in reference to the succession of tribes and the periods of 
occupation, and separate them from one another. We main- 
tain, however, that this work of interpretation has been hind- 
ered more than helped, by the various attempts to identify 
the Mound-Builders with the Indians, for the term "Indian" 
conveys the idea that they were all contemporaneous and on a 
common level; whereas the other term "Mound Builder," con- 
veys the idea of great antiquity and suggests the thought that 
there may have been a succession of tribes during the mound- 
building period. The social status ot the Indians is supposed 
to be the same among all the tribes, and on this account it 
would be very difficult to draw a distinction between them were 
it not for their language and physical appearance; whereas 
there was a great contrast among the Mound-Builders in their 
social status, their art products, their mythological systems, 
their religious symbols and ceremonies, and all that went to 
make up their inner and outer life. 

We think generally of the Indian as a hunter and a savage, 
but we think of the Mound-Builder as having some degree of 


civilization, and this impression is increased by th.e study of 
the relics, especially those in the Ohio Valley. Relics have 
here been discovered which have so modern a look that there 
is doubt whether they belong to the historic or prehistoric 
period, but there are other relics which have such an air of 
antiquity about them, that there is no doubt whatever but that 
they belonged to prehistoric times; and, what is more, there is 
difference enough between them to prove that they belonged 
to a succession of tribes, and not to one tribe of Mound- 
Builders. To illustrate: the relics which were discovered just 
before the Centennial Exposition in Chicago, and which came 
from the Hopewell group ot mounds, have such a modern look 
about them that their antiquity has been doubted by many, and 
yet it is difficult to identify them as belonging to any known 
tribe, or to absolutely prove that they were affected by the 
touch of the white man. On the other hand, the relies which 
were discovered by Squier & Davis nearly fifty years before, 
have been acknowledged by all to have belonged to the Mound- 
Builders' period. A few ha\e thought that even these, especi- 
ally the carved pipes, were too good to belong to any pre- 
historic people. 

These relics, however, have been subjected to close scrutiny, 
both in this country and in England, where they are at present, 
and the uni\ersal belief is that they belonged to the Mound- 
Builders, and prove that the art of the Mound-Builders was 
higher than that of the ordinary Indians. These relics are dis- 
tinguishetl for their highly-polished and delicately-carved 
pipes, some of which have been called monitor pipes, from 
their resemblance to the monitors. These carved pipes have 
been discussed many times. Some have claimed that they 
were close imitations of the birds and animals which were 
peculiar to the region; but others contain the figures of birds, 
such as the toucans, which are only found in Mexico, and of 
aninals, such as the manitu<=, which were only found in the 
Gulf States. At the same time there were obsidian arrow- 
heads from the Rocky Mountain.s, mica sheets from North 
Carolina, copper from the ancient mines of Lake Superior, 
pearls from the seacoast, shells from various distant regions, as 
well as specimens of cloth and many other articles, all of 
which reveal a high stage of imitative art; but there were 
no patterns which could be recognized as belonging to a his- 
toric country. The difference between the relics e.xhumed by 
Squier & Davis and those discovered by Mr. Moorehead is 
just this: in the latter we discover patterns and symbols vvhich 
are known to be common in Europe and are not uncommon in 

The mica sheets seem to have been cut into patterns by 
sharp instruments. The spool ornaments seem to have been 
melted in a mold. The copper axes were hammered mtc shape 
by a process different from that common among the Indians. 



The conventionality of the symbols and patterns, and the 
size and number of copper axes, and the peculiar form of the 
pipes, throw a shade of doubt upon their being of prehistoric 
origin; and yet they were all discovered in the same locality, 
and some of them in the same group of mounds as those which 
have been pronounced by all as a purely prehistoric group. 
The majority of these relics were placed beside the forms of 
Indian chiefs, and seem to have been buried as though they 
were their personal possessions. 

This may be said in favor of their prehistoric origin: that 
the same kind of material was used in these relics which have 
such a modern look, as was common in all the buried relics 
of the region — sheets of mica, copper axes, copper spools, 
pearls, shell beads, obsidian knives and arrow-heads, brown 
hematite — and many of them were placed upon altars similar 
to those discovered by Squier & Davis over fifty years ago. 
The copper bands that surrounded the wrists of skeletons, 

Bird Pipe from Ohio. 

resemble those which were discovered in Marietta in the early 
settlement of the place. The bear tusks, flint arrow-heads, 
flakes, panther teeth, and many other objects show that the 
people who buried these modern-looking relics were familiar 
with the wild animals of the forest. The details of this dis- 
covery cannot be dwelt upon here, but the "find" forces us to the 
conclusion that, if the bodies were those of Indian chiefs, they 
show that the Indians who built the mounds of this region had 
a wider acquaintance with the products which come from dis- 
tant parts of the continent, than is usual with the Indians of 
the present day, and there must have been a wide interchange 
of products, and no such isolation and separation as has been 
common since the early days of history. 

The cuts show the character of the relics which were pecu- 
liar to this district. In these we see that the form and finish of 
the pipes common here, was very different from that which pre- 
vailed elsewhere. We see also that there were various cere- 
monial objects, which were commonly worn on the person and 
had a significance at the time which is unknown to us. Among 



these we might mention the bird ornaments, which are some- 
times called brooding ornaments, and are supposed to have 
been a symbol of maternity by the women; also articles called 
the butterfly ornaments, as they have a resemblance to a butter- 
fly. These are supposed to have been used as maces or badges 
by the chiefs. Spool ornaments were not peculiar to this 
region, for they are common among the Stone Graves and 
other localities. These, as well as the shell beads and the per- 
forated tablets and necklaces made out of bear teeth, were the 
private possessions of persons who were of authority in the 
tribe or clan, and were, consequently, buried with the body, on 
the same principle that the jewels and precious things that were 
found in the treasure house at Mycenae by Schliemann, were 
buried as the personal possessions of the king. 

It should be said of the Moorehead find, that the imitation of 
elk horns, made of wood and covered with sheet copper, fitted 

Bird Pipes from Ohio. 

to a crown of copper, bent to fit the head; the copper plates, 
which were placed upon the breast, the stomach and the back; 
the cloth of coarse texture in which was interwoven nine hun- 
dred beautiful pearl beads; the copper spools and other imple- 
ments that were placed by the side; the pipes of granite and 
the spear-head of agate near the right shoulder, and the pipe 
of very fine workmanship and highly-polisned, constituted the 
outfit of the chiefs of the Mound-Builder tribe, as consistantly 
as did the diadems and many other magnificent objects of gold 
and silver, made the outfit of the proud Myc;enian kings, and, if 
we use the adjective in describing the kings, we see no reason 
for not using the adjective in describing the chiefs. 

This is certainly true. If the carving of pipes, cutting and 
polishing stone ornaments, sharpening stone axes, perforating 
stone tubes, chipping flint arrows, mining, cutting and hammer- 
ing copper plates, and fashioning copper knives and spools, of 
molding and ornamenting pottery vessels, of shaping and 
molding and polishing various stone ornaments, and especially 


sculpturing the form and feathers of birds, can be taken in 
evidence, we may say that the art of the Mound-Builders of 
this region had reached a higher stage of development than 
was common among the Indians of this or any other locality, 
and places them on a higher level, as far as art is concerned, 
than can be ascribed to many who live in the historic period. 
We find no such specimens of art among the prehistoric 
mounds of Europe, and our ideas of the Indian are exalted by 
the study of the relics as well as by the works. 

• III. The region which lies on either side of the Mississippi 
River, especially the northern half, is interesting because, of 
the mounds which abound there, especially the relics found in 
them. It is well known that there is in the Museuni of the 
Academy of Science at Davenport, a large collection, which 
contains a great many carved pipes resembling those found in 
the mounds of Ohio, also copper axes which were wrapped in 
a kind of coarse cloth, many shell beads and other articles, all 
of which were taken from the mounds in the vicinity. Dr. 
Cyrus Thomas has founded his argument as to the migration 
route of the Cherokees on the similarity of the pipes to those 
found in Ohio, and seems to think that the Cherokees took a 
very circuitous route; that they crossed the "Great River" 
somewhere below Lake Huron, moved westward until they 
reached the Mississippi Ri\er, left their relics there and mi- 
grated eastward to the Ohio River, and after their long conflicts 
with the Iroquois, crossed the Ohio River, passed up the 
Kanawha River, and finally settled in the mountains of western 
Tennessee, where they were visited by Dc Soto and his army. 

At the same time Dr. Thomas holds the theorj- that the 
Shawnees left the shell gorget which was found by Major 
Powell near Peoria, and those found by General Thruston in 
the Stone Graves in Nashville, and those found by his own 
assistants near the Etowah Mound in Georgia, because of the 
fact that Stone Graves are scattered over this region, and be- 
cause these gorgets all have figures on them resembling one 

The salt mines found in Illinois are quite likely to have been 
worked by the Shawnees, for they were situated in this region 
at one time, and the name Chaouanans on the early maps, 
which is applied to the Ohio River, was taken from the name 
Shawnees and printed with the French spelling; but the claim 
that the carved and inscribed shells which have been discovered 
in these widely scattered regions belong to the Shawnees, 
seems to have come from theory rather than facts. The 
Shawnees were Algonquins, and were a tribe of nomads and 
never reached a very high grade of art, or adopted any such 
mythology as may be indicated by these figures. Mr. F. H. 
Gushing has compared them to the mythologic figures found 
among the Pueblos, and called them " man eagles " or " eagle 
men"; others have compared them to the mythologic figures 

The Relics of the Mississippi valley. 


found in Mexico and Central America, 'ihe only reason for 
ascribing them to the wild tribes would be the costumes 
represented, and yet the warriors were dressed about the 
same everywhere. 

The discovery of a shell gorget was made near the Etowah 
Mound, containing an inscribed figure, which so resembles 
the image of Buddha, that 











Dr. Thomas Wilson took 
it as evidence of contact with 
the Asiatic continent, and 
bases his theory on the evi- 
dence. It is, however, unsafe 
to place any theory on these 
fugitive articles, as unsafe as 
it was to take the sacrificial 
scene found on the tablet at 
Davenport, to base the theory 
that the story of the Deluge 
and Noah and his family was 
recorded in those tablets. 

There is no doubt that the 
Shawnees were at one time 
located on the Cumberland 
River, and it may be that they 
borrowed many of the forms of 
art that the Muskogee tribes 
had for a long time used, but to 
maintain that all of these arti- 
facts found in the Stone Graves 
belong to the Shawnees is cer- 
tainly misleading. The Shaw- 
nees were upon the east side of 
the river, as were other Algon 
quin tribes, but the Dakotas 
were on the west side. A 
branch of them the Winneba- 
goes, were on the east side in 
Wisconsin. There are many 
finely-carved stone pipes in the Daxcnport Museum, resembling 
those found in the Ohio mounds, but the pattern may have 
been borrowed, or the pipes secured by the Dakotas before 
the migration to the west. 

The discovery, near Davenport, of a large number of copper 
axes wrapped in coarse cloth, would identif)' the people with 
the Dakotas, or, at least, the Winnebaoos, who also had a great 
many copper relics, but would not quite account for th.e pecu- 
liar pipes which are associated with the axes. The horizons 
presented by the mounds do not indicate any great diversity of 
population, and so do not justily the hypothesis that the 
Cherokees left the pipes here. On the other hand, the absence 

'/^< /-f 

A rrow- Heads from Wisconsin . 



of stone graves in the neighborhood of the Cahokia Mound 
throws a cloud of doubt over the theory that the Shawnees 
built that mound and left the relics surrounding them. A more 
plausible theory is, that we have in this region the meeting 
place of three great races: the Dakota race on the north and 
west; the Algonquin race on the east, mainly in Illinois; the 
Muskogee race on the south, though what particular branch of 
that race reached the spot is difficult to say. 

The Cherokees * belonged to the Iroquois stock, and seem 
to have left the majority of their relics somewhat near the 
Iroquois territory in Southern Ohio, and have left their names 
on the waters of that river. This, then, is the lesson which 
we learn from the study of the relics and the traditions. The 
Dakotas, the Algonquins, and an unknown race formerly in- 
habited the upper part of the Mississippi River, and extended 

down as far as the 
St. Francis River, 
and were there up 
to the time of De 
Soto's expedition. 
It is not our ob- 
ject to prove any 
theory, butthefact 
that the pyramid 
mounds so closely 
resemble those 
" found along the 
- Mississippi River 
and along the Gulf 
States, would indi- 
cate that a colony 
from the great 
Muskogee stock 
had built up the 
large cluster of pyramid mounds which are situated here. 
The resemblance of the relics found near these mounds to 
those found at New Madrid, Missouri; St. Francis River, and 
near the pyramid mounds scattered through the Gulf States, 
confirms the impression that they were left here by a branch of 
the Muskogee stock rather than the Shawnees. 

We may say that copper relics are more numerous from 
Davenport northward than they are below that point, but pot- 

• Dr. Hale says: "Following the of migration from the Northwest to the Southwest, 
which leads us from the Hurons of Eastern Canada to the Tuscarorag of North Carolina, we 
come to the Cherokees of Northern Alabama and of Georgia. Recent investigations have 
disclosed to us the tact that tribes belonging to the Uakotas lived in early times east of the 
Allcghanies, and were found by the first explorers not far from the Atlantic Coast. 

"The country fiom which the Lenapes migrated was the land of the fir trees; not in the 
West but the far North. There can be no reasonable doubt as to the Alleghewi, who gave their 
nnme'to tne Alleghany River, being the Mound-Builders. The evidence of language leads to 
the conclusion that the course of migration has been from the Atlantic Coast westward. The 
Rasques of Northern Spain have a speech of the polysynthetic character which distinguishes 
the American languages, and has many of the characteristics of the American aborigines." 
See American Antiquarian, Vol. V., pp. ii8-iai. 

^Copper Axes from Davenport. 




tery moulded into the shape of animal figures, gorgets, and 
stone spades are more numerous near St. Louis than they are 
anywhere north of that point, though this does not really 
identify the relics with any particular tribe. 

It is to be noticed that the relics partake of the material 
which is most abundant, at least the best specimens in each 
locality are made out of the material which abounds in the 
region. There are no such copper axes, spear heads, spuds, 
spears with sockets, needles, and chisels, as are those found 
made of copper, which are common in Wisconsin near the cop- 
per mines. There are no such pottery vessels as the beauti- 
fully-moulded and finely-grained specimens found near the 
Cahokia Mound. There are no such large burial caskets, made 
out of clay, as are found among the Stone Graves of the Cum- 
berland; and yet in all these localities there is a great variety 
of relics, and many of them show an equal proficiency in art, 
though it is expended on different material. The same dis- 
tinction ma}- be drawn in reference to the mounds themselves 
and the earthworks. 

The large number of pyramid mounds situated in 
double lines across the great American bottom, of which the 
Cahokia Mound is the chief, proves that the people were in- 
dustrious and well organized. It was necessary to build the 
mounds large and high to escape the water during the freshets, 
but the discovery of large numbers of stone spades and hoes 
and agricultural implements prove that the people cultivated 
the soil, notwithstanding the malaria which prevailed and the 
freshets which frequently flooded the region. 

The author has discovered conical mounds with pyramid 
mounds, and a wide platform between them, which so resembled 
those common in the Gulf St ttes that they conveyed the idea 
that here was a "chunky yard" similar to those found in the last 
mentioned locality. It seems very likely that a branch or 
colony of the Muskogees passed up the Mississippi Ri\er and 
built the Cahokia Mounds, but that they returned to the south 
long before the days of history. The resemblance of the pipes 
and pottery and shell gorgets among the Stone Graves and those 
found in the Cahokia Mound, may be owing to the presence of 
the same races on the Cumberland River. The same, possibly, 
may explain the presence of the copper plates in the Stone 
Grave near the Etowah Mound. 

IV. The region which next calls forth our attention is that 
which was situated on the Cumberland and Tennessee Rivers. 
This is the region where so many stone graves have been dis- 

The best authority on the relics of the Stone Graves is Gen. 
G. P. Thruston, whose work, "Antiquities of Tennessee," is of 
great value; illustrations from which have been borrowed, and 
they show the character of the relics found here better than 
words can describe them. Ihe relics present a great variety 



of material and form, but all show considerable skill in con- 
struction. In fact, the relics found in the Stone Graves are so 
numerous and so varied that one can easily reconstruct the 
social condition from them and gain a picture of the society 
which prevailed. The study of these relics is something like 
the study of the relics and remains found in the ruins of 
Pompeii, for it brings before us a stage of culture which was 
unique and peculiar to the locality, and suggestive of a people 
who had acquired a certain rude skill, and had applied it to 
every department of life, using the material which was at 
hand, but had buried voluntarily all the specimens of their 
skill in the graves. One is inclined to draw a parallel between 
the people who evidently dwelt here in prehistoric times, and 
the pioneers who afterwards mhabited the region, for both 
classes of people seem to have manufactured their own tools 

secured their 
own materi- 
als with 
which to 
make them- 
selves com- 
fortable and 
carried on 
their indus- 
tries without- 
a n }' t h i n g 
from a dis- 

* The intro- 
d uct io n of 
gunpo wder, 
the invention 
of the loom, 
and the use 

of the steel axe gave great advantage to these pioneers; 
yet when we consider the houses which were erected 
within the stockade torts, which were plastered on the inside, 
and remember the scenery and resources of the region, we may 
well imagine that the difference between savagery and civiliza- 
ation was not so great as some have imagined. It is not often 
that this comparison is drawn, yet if we take the relics which 
have been discovered among the Stone Graves, and compare 
them to those which were used by the pioneers, we will find 
that there were many points of resemblance, for the same kind 
of tools, utensils, implements, and weapons are apparent in 
both, and we are obliged to give the same names to them, not- 
withstanding the fact that the materials are so different. 

Under the head of tools we find knives, axes, chisels, awls, 
mauls made out of stone, which resemble those made out of 

Chunky Stones frotn Tennessee. 



iron; we have such weapons as daggers, spears, dirks, knives, 
arrows, resembling those made out of steel. Under the head 
of utensils we find plastering trowels, pottery stamps, paint 
grinders, mortars for grinding C(irn, pestles for pounding, made 
out of stone and bearing the same shape as those made out of 
iron or wood. Under the head of agricultural implements we 
have scrapers, hoes, spades, made out of stone, instead of iron; 
many of the hoes have the same shape. For domestic use we 
find dishes, cups, spoons, and many other articles made out of 
shell. We find pots, kettles, bowls, basins, jars, bottles, made 
out of pottery ware; need'es, awls, chisels, instruments for 
f)olishing, smoothing and cutting, made out of bone; textile 
fabrics and skins made into various garments; planting sticks, 
rude looms, spear handles, as well as bows and arrows, made 
out of wood. Besides these there were many articles whose 
use is unknown, but 
they so much resemble 
those in common use at 
the present day, that we 
give to them names 
which are familiar and 
common, such as but- 
tons, spools, pulleys and 
wheels, ear ornaments, 
rings, amulets, some of 
which are made of cop- 
per. Even child's rattles 
and marbles have been 
found, and many other 
toys in imitati\e shapes 
resembling animals and 
human figures. These 
bring the domestic life 
before us. The social ^^^^'^^■^ Bowl from Tennessee. 

life is also made apparent by the number of pipes which 
have been found, some in what might be called "trumpet" 
shape; tubes, cylinders, monitor pipes, platforms and discs; 
others have imitative shapes resembling animals, birds with 
wings spread, as if flying; others with their wings folded; 
pipes in the shape of. ducks being very common. There were 
also stone pipes in the shape of wild animals, others in the 
shape of human images with the bowl upon the shoulder, 
others seated holding large jars in front of them, others in 
kneeling posture with bowl in the back. 

The agricultural and mechanical implements were numerous 
and were generally made out of stone. Some bear the shape 
of notched hoes, axes, paddles; others were leaf shaped ; others 
with a square blade, notched in the upper part; spades or 
shovels similar to those found in the neighborhood of the 
Cahokia Mound. There were double-barbed spears, notched 


swords, sceptres, ceremonial objecis carefully flaked, chipped 
stone hooks and stone claws, flint discs, and stone turtles. 

The pottery vessels show much skill in moulding clay into 
imitative shapes, for we have a great variety of bowls and dishes 
in the shape of ducks, frogs, fishes, toads, and birds of various 
kinds; others presenting lizards and animal figures and paws 
molded into shape, and raised upon the outer surface, or serv- 
ing as handles upon either side. There are no such finely- 
carved pipes as are found in Southern Ohio; no such delicate 
work or pains taken in imitating the feathers and forms of birds, 
and yet the pottery vessels were wrought into human shapes 
with such skill that one may easily recognize the features of 
the people, and imagine a personal semblance that make them 
appear as portraits. In a few cases the bear and the dog are 
represented, even the panther and other wild animals, with much 
skill and taste. 

The shell gorgets are the most interesting of all the orna- 
ments found in Tennessee. They represent serpents coiled up 
so as to make a circle, spiders with legs spread, the whole sur- 
rounded by four circles. Shell gorgets with human figures en- 
graved upon them, are very interesting. One such represents 
two warriors armed with stone knives and stone hooks, who 
seem to be fighting with one another, but they are clothed in a 
symbolic manner, as wings extend from the face, claws from 
the feet, and yet they are clothed in such a way as to represent 
the style in which the warrions were arrayed, as they have belts 
about the waist, two sets of bands around the arms and legs, 
the spool ornament in the ear, a peculiar badge or mace in the 
hand, the head decorated with a single plume. The wings and 
tail of the eagle are well represented. They are called the 
"Eagle Men." 

V. The relics of the Gulf States remain to be described. 
These were first seen and described by Cabeca de Vaca, and 
the various writers who accompanied De Soto; next by 
Bartram, the famous botanist and traveller; afterward by Mr. 
C. C. Jones in his excellent book, "The Antiquities of the 
Southern Indians"; and still later by Mr. Clarence Moore, 
Mr. A. E. Douglas, Mr. F. H. Gushing, Mr. A. S. Gatschet, 
and others. 

They may be classified according to the geographical districts 
in which the various tribes were formerly situated, or accord- 
ing to material used, or the earthworks with which they were 
associated; but they all present peculiarities which distinguish 
them from those in the northern districts. 

It may be said that there were at the time of the Discovery 
several different tribes situated in the Southern States, — the 
Seminoles in Florida, the Creeks in Georgia, the Chica^aws, 
and Choctaws in Alabama and Mississippi, the Natches in 
Louisiana, and the Cherokees in eastern Tennessee; the first 
have been described by Mr. Clarence E. Moore. 


& ■ 








It would seem from Mr. Moore's account, that the tribes 
formerly situated in Florida had more and larger pottery ves- 
sels than any other, many of them in imitative shapes. The 
Muskogee tribes had more idols and carved stone relics and 
shell gorgets; but the tribes situated in both Eastern and 
Western Tennessee had more shell gorgets and copper plates 
than any other. Some of these copper plates have been con- 
sidered by Dr. Thomas as very modern and bearing the touch 
of the white man, and in one found near the P^towah Mound 
Mr. Thomas Wilson has recognized the image of Buddha. 

Copper relics are quite numerous. The natives that 
De Soto met spoke of copper mines in the mountains of Ap- 
palachee, and the whole army was led into the mountain region 
in hopes of discovering gold.*" In passing through the towns 
between the coast and the mountains, they found many large 
towns or villages; in one of which— Talemeco — was a temple 
.with three gates, one of which was guarded by gigantic 
wooden statues, variously armed with clubs and wooden vases, 
canoe paddles, copper hatchets, drawn bows, and long pikes 
which were ornamented with rings of pearl and bands of cop- 

The relics which are peculiar to the Gulf States have been 
described by Mr. C. C. Jones. The most interesting of these 
consist of pipes, which may be divided into different classes: 
I. The idol pipes, which are always associated with the large 
pyramid mounds, and frequently represent the human figure, 
upon the knees in an attitude of devotion, clasping an urn- 
shaped bowl; head thrown back; forehead retreating; eyes up- 
turned. 2. The calumets, among which are the bird-shaped 
pipes made of serpentine, oolite, feldspar, gneiss, mica, slate ind 
soapstone. Some of these are seven inches long, three inches 
high, and two inches wide; the walls of the bowl half an inch 
thick. They are generally found in the mounds and in the 
fields, and may be regarded as the public property of the tribe, 
or the private property of the chiefs and medicine men. The 
stone pipe in the shape of a panther is depicted by General 
Thruston in his book. The panther was the totem emblem of 
the Creeks or Muskogeei; the wild cat was the totem of the 
Chicasaws. The discovery of these bird pipes in the Stone 
Graves is very significant. 3. The common pipes were made 
of stone and clay, and were generally used with a reed stem; 
some of them represent the human face. 

4. Another class of relics consists of maces or double-bladed 
axes. Mr. C. C. Jones says: 

NoTB — Mr. James Mooney has mado a close study of the route taken by the Spaniards. 
He maintains tliat after passing «p the Gulf, where they found the forts amid the swamps, they 
came to the province of Cutifachiiiui and, accompanied by the queen, they marched toward the 
niiiuiitains, where they were met by the Cherokees. Crossing tlie I'lue Ridge, they came at 
the and of a month to the town of Guaxula, where the people came out to meet them dressed in 
robes of skins, who gave them thiee hundred dogs for food. They passad down the Chatta- 
hoochee, and came to C^auasauga, a frontier town. They marched southward toward the Gull 
passed through Tuscaloosa, and finally reachtd Mobile. ' 


These ceremonial axes occur frequently in the relic beds along the 
banks of the rivers where the natives congregate for fishing. The most of 
them are broken, Their edges are not sharp. Fashioned principally of a 
talcose slate, they were unfit for service, and must be regarded as orna- 
mental or ceremonial axes. They vary in size and form, the most of them 
being less than six inches in length and vt-ry light. Three of them were 
found 'n a grave mound in Louisiana, made of quartz; marvels of sym- 
metry, and polished to the highest degree; evidently intended for orna- 
ments or badges of distinction. One, made of diorite beautifully polished, 
is four inches long and an mch aud three-eighths in diameter (Fig. 4). An- 
other, made of syenite (Fig. 5), measures four inches in length and two and 
three quarters in width, weighing twenty seven ounces. In another (Fig. 2), 
the drill hole had not been completed. Another (Fig. 3) is wing-shaped, 
and is made with points around it, but not brought to a cutting edge, made 
of slate. Another is made of close grained diorite, beautifully polished, 
four inches long. This was an ornamental or ceremonial axe, intended for 
display, and not for use. (See Plate.) 

5. Another class of relics consists of chisels and gouges. 
Of these Mr. C. C. Jones says: 

They are made of green stones in sockets of wood, and stag's horns of 
bone, similar to those found in the Lake Dwellings of Switzerland. The 
gouge differs from the chisel in that it is larger and stronger, having one 
side scooped out and the other rounded. Bone gouges are made of the leg 
bones ot the deer and buffalo. These were obtained from mounds, shell 
heaps and relic beds gathered upon the sites of ancient villages and fishing 
resorts, or plowed up in cultivated fields. 

The discoidal stones are common in the Gulf States._ They are all cir- 
cular in shape, with diameters varying from one to six inches. Many are 
flat on the sides, sliajhtly convex, hollowed out on both sides. The cavities 
are circular and four inches in diameter. One has four cavities, two on each 
side, precisely similar and one within the other: the depth of the outer, five- 
eighths of an inch, and the inner, three-eighths of an inch; the rim one- 
quarter of inch thick. The general distribution of the stones shows that 
the game was in common esteem among the various Georgia tribes. 

6. The pottery of the southern Indians is superior to that manufactured 
by the northern tribes. In some of the Southern States, kilns in which the 
ancient pottery was baked are now to be met with. In the Etowah Valley 
kilns constructed of water-worn stones have been discovered. One of the 
best specimens of burial urns (Fig, i, PI. XXVII.), l^/z inches in height 
and nine inches in diameter, contained the bones of a young child. The urn 
taken from an earth mound near Sparta (Fig. 2), is 14 inches high, 14 
inches in diameter, and has the pattern of wicker work. A numerous class 
of flat-bottomed jars are represented by Figs. 3 and 4. Figs. 5, 6, 7 and 8 
represent pots with ears and legs; while in Figs, i and 2 next Plate, we find 
the wide-necked jars; and in Figs. 3, 4, 5,6, 7, 8, 9 and 10 bottles taken from 
the Grave Mounds. 




At the Springfield meeting of the American Association for 
the Advancement of Science, Prof. Putnam read a paper upon 
the Symbolic 'Carvings of the Mound-builders. The abstract 
has been printed and we take the occasion to reprint it.* He 
controverted the theory advanced by some writers that the an- 
cient earth-works of the Ohio valley and southward are of 
comparatively recent origin, and were made by the immediate 
ancestors of the Indian tribes living in that region three centuries 
ago. The belief forced upon Prof. Putnam, by continued archae- 
ological research in the field for more than a quarter ot a century, 
as well as by study of the human remains and works of man 
found in the older earth-works and mounds, is that the people 
who made the great earth-works and the burial mounds asso- 
ciated with them were a branch of the great southwestern people, 
represented by the ancient Mexicans, the builders of the old 
cities of Yucatan and Central America, and some of the Pueblo 
tribes of Utah, Colorado, Arizona and New Mexico and adjoin- 
ing portions of old Mexico. He also believes that the customs 
and some particular ceremonies and phases of art found among 
the living tribes to the northward and eastward of this great 
region were simply survivals by contact of these tribes with the 
shortheaded peoples of the southwest, of which the old earth- 
work builders of the Ohio valley were one extreme branch. In 
this connection he emphasized the necessity of distinguishing 
between the older of these earth-works and the burial mounds 
and village sites of the intrusive tribes from the northward and 

I. The particular object of this paper was to illustrate some of 
the peculiarities of the incised art of this older people of the 
Ohio valley and to point out the close resemblance in the motive 
of the symbolism expressed in the carvings from this region 
with those of the southwest and even Central America. At the 
same time attention was called to certain remarkable resemblances 
in the technique of some of the similar work of the Haidas of 
the northwest coast of America. The paper was illustrated by 
a series of diagrammatic figures, showing peculiar and in some 
ways extraordinary carvings; and another set of drawings illus- 
trated the carvings of natural size. 

The objects illustrated and studied were arranged in three 

♦Abstract of Paper published in Popular Science News for January, 1896. 


groups. First, the famous Cincinnati tablet, found within a 
mound in Cincinnati in 1841, over which there has been so much 
controversy and so many different theories as to its meaning. 
Second, the objects which were found in the great group of 
mounds surrounded by an earth-work, known as the Turner group, 
which was most thoroughly explored during ten years of con- 
tinued work by Prof. Putnam and Dr. Metz and several assist- 
ants of the Peabody Museum of Cambridge, where these objects 
are now preserved. Third, the remarkable lot oi specimens from 
the earth-work figured and described by Squier and Davis as the 
Clark work, but later known, from the present owner, as the 
Hopewell group. These objects were secured by Mr, W. K, 
Moorehead while acting as Prof Putnam's assistant in obtaining 
material for the exhibit in the Department of Ethnology of the 
World's Fair, of which department Prof' Putnam was chief. 
This collection is now preserved in the Field Columbian Mu- 
seum of Chicago. 

The first specimen to which attention was called was that of a 
portion of a human femur which had been scraped and rubbed to 
a high polish, and on this rounded surface intricate figures had 
been incised. At first it was difficult to recognize in the appar- 
ent medley of lines any intelligible design, but after studying 
the lines for a while they resolve themselves into human and 
animal faces, combined with ovals, circles and other symbolic 
designs. A prolonged study of the carving shows that the fig- 
ure is made up ot elaborate masks- and combined headdresses. 
The discernment of these several faces and headdresses, repre- 
sented in the combination figure, is made easier by a comparison 
with several other objects found in the same mound. Among 
these are numerous designs cut out of thin sheets of copper, 
made by hammering nuggets of native copper. Among these 
are the serpent and sun symbols, also shown in the carvings. 
Another copper object represents the deer's antler. In the same 
mound a skeleton was found about which were many ornaments; 
and still resting upon the skull was a copper headdress made of 
a sheet of copper curved to cover the head from the forehead to 
the occiput; and from this branched a pair of antlers, made of 
wood and covered with thin copper.* Still another object was 
that of a similar sheet of copper through which was thrust two 
short, rounded pieces of wood, representing the antlers of the 
deer just starting in their growth. Prof. Putnam called attention 
to the fact that a comparison of these two headdresses with the 
figure carved upon the human legbone showed that two of the 

*One of the bodies which was exhumed from this graded section is illustrated by Mr. 
Moorehead in his book on Primitive Man in Ohio. It is impossible, however, to tell from 
tiie book or from the article here quoted whether the large number of so-called spool orna- 
ments and the peculiar black rings called pulleys, and the duck pipe which is made out of the 
same material, came from this mound, and if from this mound it is impossible to tell 
whether they were connected with the body of the chief or with the skeleton of the child or 
young person. The whole description given by Mr. Moorehead is very vague and indefinite. 


figures in this combination represented two masks or human 
faces surmounted with just such headdresses — one with the bud- 
ding antlers, the other with the full formed antlers. He then 
showed that these were not all the faces shown in this singular 
combination of Hnes. There was also an animal head with a 
broad mouth, closed eyes and drooping ears ; while in the center 
of the design was to be seen the beak of the Roseate Spoonbill 
— a bird often represented in similar incised carvings from the 
mounds. Particular attention was called to the way in which the 
eyes were represented on the human face, with the double curved 
projecting lines which has much to do with many of the sym- 
bolic carvings which were described. 

Prof Putnam then alluded to a similar carving, but with dif- 
ferent designs, upon a human arm-bone, obtained with thous- 
ands of other objects from the altar of the great mound of the 
Turner group. On this carving there are several conventional 
animal heads interwoven and combined in a curious manner ; 
and over each head are represented the symbolic designs, circles 
and ovals, common to nearly all the carvings. Here the lines 
were cut with such skill and ingenuity that parts of one head 
form portions of another above and below; and on reversmg this 
combination figure still other heads are discernible. The many 
combinations here shown, he said, could only have been made 
by carefully preparing the distinct figures, and combining them 
in the way here shown, which must have required a vast amount 
of ingenuity as well as mechanical execution. 

Another of these interesting carvings was from the Hopewell 
mound, and was also upon the highly polished surface of a por- 
tion of a human femur. In this the principal designs are the 
conventionalized serpent and the bear totem, represented by the 
five claws; while other designs are the same in outline as some 
of the great earth and stone works in the Ohio valley — particu- 
larly the outline of the so-called "Stone Fort"* in Ross county, 
and the so-called "Entrance"t to the earth-work in Butler county, 
figured by Squier and Davis. 

Prof Putnam dwelt particularly upon the figures carved on the 
stone known as the Cincinnati Tablet, and he showed how the 
strange figures there delineated were both conventionalized and 
symbolic, the serpent head being one of the symbolic designs of 
the tablet. This tablet, he said, has been described by several 
writers during the last half century, and has often been con- 
sidered as a fraudulent piece of work; but of its authenticity 
there can now be no doubt, as the figures upon it are partially 
understood, and several of them are of the conventional serpent 
form, identical in form with those found in other mounds of 
Ohio, and also agree essentially with the representation of the 

* This stone fort represents a double-headed snake with four tails. See my book on 
"Myths and Symbols," , p. 63. tSee Mound-builders' Fort, p. 147. 



serpent head iii the sculptures of Central America; while the 
singular duplication of the parts recalls a similar method in the 
carvings and paintings of the Haidas of the northwest coast of 
America. He considers that the combination of the human and 
serpent forms in this tablet makes it a most interesting study in 
this new light. 

In connection with a study of this tablet attention was drawn 
to a very interesting object of copper found in the Hopewell 
mound. Many comparisons were made between these two 
objects, which, unlike as they seemed at first glance, were shown 
to have identical lines evidently representing the same symbolic 
figures. Another object shown was a serpent cut from a piece 


Symbols found in the Copper Relics from ihe Hopewell , Mound.] 

of mica, upon which were incised lines representing the same 
symbols found on the carvings on bone. This was from the 
Turner mound. In connection with this representation of the 
plumed serpent, the authors of the paper made many compari- 
sons, showing the modification of the serpent in ancient art, from 
Ohio through the Pueblo regions to Mexico and Central 
America. The peculiar representation of the eye of the serpent 
is also dwelt upon, this eye becoming symbolic of the serpent 
itself. Several objects from the mounds are simply these sym- 
bolic serpent eyes, and attention was called to the persistence of 
this symbol from Ohio to Central America. 

The next group of symbolic carvings described was that of 
the circle divided by the four arms, representing the horizon and 
the four quarters of the earth. Attention was called to the wide 
spread of this symbol over North America; common to the 
carvings of the mounds, it extends westward to Mexico. 

II. The particulars as to the Hopewell" Find" are very im- 
portant in this connection. These have been difficult to get 


hold of, but we quote below the account of it which was fur- 
nished by Mr. Moorehead while still at work in the field and 
published in the Illustrated American. It is the best report 
which has thus far appeared, though the writer did not realize 
the importance of giving the exact spot where every relic was 

"All of the twenty-six mounds above mentioned were carefully 
examined.* Photographs and drawings were made of every 
skeleton which was surrounded by ornaments or objects, of 
the various colored strata in the mounds, the altars, and other 
things of interest. It is the purpose of this paper to describe 
only one of the mounds explored: the large one indicated in the 
center of the accompanying plan, around which there is a semi- 
circular embankment. 

"Seven thousand two hundred and thirty-two unfinished flint 
implements, averaging in size 5x7 inches and half an inch in 
thickness, had been deposited in 
Mound No. 2, in the lorm of a 
layer 20x30 feet and one foot in 
thickness. The Effigy Mound is 
500x210 feet, with a height of 23 
feet, and resembles externally the 
human trunk. On account of its 
great size the expedition was com- 
pelled to open it in seven sections, 
each 60 feet in width The greatest 
diameter of the mound is east and ^2/m6o^. /o«nd in the may Mounds. 

west. The cross sections were run north and south, and were, 
therefore, about 200 feet in length, with walls of earth at the 
center 23 feet high, which gradually sloped toward the ends 
until they reached the original surface beyond. 

"Before giving a description of the finds in each cut, it would be 
well to speak generally regarding the construction of the mound. 
The builders first selected a level strip of ground, cleared it of 
underbrush, weeds and grass. They then took clubs or other 
heavy objects and beat the earth until it was hard and flat, and 
filled all the little depressions and hollows. The floor being thus 
far prepared, they built large fires upon it and kept them burn- 
ing for several days. 

§ "All the skeletons taken from the mound, with the exception 
of one or two, lay upon this hard burnt floor. The mound was 
erected in eight or nine sections and considerable time elapsed 
between the completion of one and the beginning of another. 
When a mound has stood a number of years it becomes covered 
with underbrush and small trees. If the aborigines decided to 
make further interments, instead of constructing a new mound, 

*The location of the different mounds within the enclosure can be learned from the plate 
whieh gives the general plan of the shape of the mound in the semi-circular enclosure. 


they frequently used the old one. They placed the bodies upon 
the surface of the ground at the base of the first one and heaped 
earth above until either the first mound was covered or a struc- 
ture was formed nearly equaling it in size. The decay of under- 
brush and logs leaves a dark line between the two mounds 
conforming to the contour of the first. This is called the sod 
line.* Such sod lines were apparent in the Effigy Mounds. In 
cut No. I, which was projected through the eastern end of the 
mound, nothing was found except near the summit. Bowlders 
had been laid about two feet below the summit of the mound 
extending down the south slope of the structure for a distance 
of forty feet. They were thought at the time to represent the 
figures of two panthers. The efifigiesf — if they were intended to 
represent efifiges — were very rude, and while the tails were 
clearly defined and one or two legs apparent, the head and fore 
legs had been disturbed by the plow to such an extent that it 
was impossible to follow them. Bowlder mosaics are occasion- 
ally found in mounds, particularly in Iowa, but their occurrence 
in the Ohio valley is extremely rare. 

"In cut No. 2. thirteen or fourteen skeletons were exhumed 
from the base line. The most important of these was recorded 
as Skeleton No. 248. It lay with the head to the south, and was 
five feet eleven inches in length, and fairly well preserved. No 
skeleton in the mound indicated a person of more importance 
than No. 248. Copper antlers, 22x23 inches, extended from the 
forehead upward. The breast and back were covered with cop- 
per plates, bear teeth, and other singular ornaments. Strings 
of beads lay about the ankles and wrists, while at the feet were 
traces of decayed sandals. The copper horns had been origin- 
ally fastened to a helmet of copper, covering the skull from the 
upper jaw to the base of the occipital. A rough cloth skirt ex- 
tended from the waist to the knees. Where the copper plates 
came in contact with the fabric it was well preserved. Beautiful 
pearl beads and large bear and panther tusks were interlaced or 
strung upon the front of the garment. The other skeletons were 
covered with shell beads and a few copper plates and celts ac- 
companied them.J In cut No. 3 a number of bodies were found 
surrounded by large ocean sheWs {Busj'con and Pj'ru/a), plates 
of mica, lumps of galena, stone pipes, spear-heads, and beads. 
In the centre of the cut upon the base line a deposit of two hun- 
dred copper objects and implements was laid. The deposit cov- 
ered a space 6x10 feet. Among the objects found were an 

*The facts which Moorehead brings out about the gradual enlargement of a burial 
mound is important. It only confirms what the writer has often advanced; but it here 
explains some things which would otherwise be difficult to account for, especially the 
diversity of relics found in the mound. 

t;These effigies were pointed out by gentlemen from Washington who were visiting 
the SDOt. 

* A cut representing this skeleton and its novel helmet is given in Moorehead's book 
and in the Illustrated American, A reproduction of the last can be seen in the plate. 


enormous copper axe 223^ inches long and weighing 38 pounds, 
and copper plates or square sheets of copper used for orna- 
mental purposes. With the deposit were 25.000 pearl and shell 
beads. Accompanying the copper implements of the more 
ordinary form were anklets, bracelets, combs, saucers, several fish 
and suastikas and crosses. The discovery of four crosses, which 
are peculiarly oriental in character, marks a new epoch in Ameri- 
can archaeology. Mortellet, the eminent French anthro- 
pologist, refers in his works very generally to the same style 
of cross found by the survey, and gives numerous illustrations 
in his works of its occurrence on pottery, sepulchres, and monu- 
ments of Brittany, Italy and, particularly, India. The Suastika 
was used as one of the emblems of Buddha worship before the 
Christian era, and may have spread later into Phoenicia." This 
symbol is occasionally found in Egypt and China, but, so far as 
the writer is aware, not in Yucatan or Mexico. A cross does 
occur on the Palenque tablet, but it is not the Suastika. 

"The crosses and the other objects were worked from sheet 
copper which had been beaten thin in a cold state and not rolled. 
All the copper was placed in a layer several inches above two 
badly decayed skeletons. Many of the bones of the skeletons 
were badly decayed, and the few entire ones were covered with 
dendritic deposits. Twenty-three feet below the surface, with 
alternating layers of compact clay and coarse gravel, their decay 
is unquestionably due to age and not to the action of atmos- 
pheric agencies. The copper crosses and effigies were at first 
thought to be modern; in fact, we would not say positively at 
the present vvriting that they are ancient. But if the field testi- 
mony is of value (and the survey has had such experience that 
it is hardly probable its members are easily deceived), it is cer- 
tain that the objects evince a degree of workmanship beyond the 
ability of the two tribes of people that inhabited Southern Ohio 
in pre-Columbian times. This is admitted by even those who 
are of the opinion that the objects were made by the early traders 
and trappers who came in contact with the Indians of the Ohio 
Valley one hundred and fifty years ago. Probably not one of the 
traders ever heard of the Suastika cross. That the early P"rench 
met the Ohio tribes on the shores of Lake Erie, in Illinois, and 
at Fort Duquesne long before the Ordinance of 1787, opening 
the territory of the Northwest for settlement, is quite true. 

"That they should have made copper fish, combs, anklets, etc., 
strangely like the Etruscan and Phoenician designs, and crosses 
the duplicate of those used so extensively in India is hardly pos- 
sible. No race of American aborigines were quicker to employ 
the superior implemejits and more beautiful ornaments of the 
whites than the Indians of the Ohio Valley. Had they secured 
these crosses from the whites they would have undoubtedly 
buried glass beads, iron tomahawks, medals, and other evidences 


of European influence, with their dead. The whites would not 
have issued to the Indians a singular and purely religious ori- 
ental emblem and have omitted to present mirrors, beads, and 
other flashy and more acceptable gifts." 

III. These accounts of the relics found in the Hopewell group 
and the symbolism contained in them are very important. Fur- 
ther consideration of them will be necessary, however, before the 
conclusions reached will be adopted by all, and for the following 
reasons: i. The relics are unlike those which are generally found 
in the mounds. Professor Putnam takes the position that the 
symbolism contained in the relics of the Hopewell mound is the 
same as that in the Turner mounds, in the Cincinnati Tablet, 
and the copper relics from the Etowah mound. Mr. Moorehead 
says nothing about the symbolism of the bone relics which he 
discovered; though he describes the copper relics and speaks ot 
the oriental character of the suastika and some other symbols 
which may be recognized, and intimates that this is the first time 
that the suastika had been seen among the mounds. This is not 
true, though it is perhaps the first found north of the Ohio 
River. Mr. Moorehead, however, admits that there have been 
many doubts as to the prehistoric character of the copper, mica 
and other relics which were taken from this mound. This doubt 
has been increased from the examination of the relics which are 
now in the Field Columbian Museum, having been returned from 
the Peabody Museum, to which they were taken. 

2. The symbols on the copper relics strangely resemble the 
symbols common in mediaeval times in Europe, especially the 
copper sheets which were cut into the shape of the old-fashioned 
Maltese cross in combination with the clover leaf The cross is 
in the shape of the letter X and was common before the Christian 
era, but the clover leaf is modern European. (See cut.) V/e say 
nothing about the composition of the relics in the shape of pul- 
leys, nor the strangely uniform stereotyped shape of the spool 
ornaments, which make them look as if they were stamped; nor 
of the flat pieces of copper with turreted edges, all of which look 
as if they were cut by a sharp knife or chisel, and all at one 
time, or the vast quantity of copper which came out of the mound. 
We only ask the question: Why do the symbols on the bone 
implements appear so ancient and the symbols and other art 
forms on the copper relics appear so manifestly modern ? 

3. The figure on the Cincinnati tablet, v/hich Prof. Putnam 
calls a feather-headed serpent, is plainly a humanized tree, with 
the legs and arms transformed into branches and leaves, and 
folded up against the body after the fashion common among the 
Haidas, the eyes being hiddt n among the leaves, which take the 
place of the hair, the whole figure having a human semblance, 
and not the least trace of the feather-headed serpent can be rec- 
ognized. See plate. 



IV, The comparison of symbols which vvere common among 
the mounds with those which are common in Asiatic countries 
will be of interest to those who have extended their studies far 
enough to appreciate the subject. It has been a disputed point 
for many years, whether there was any contact between this 
country and the Asiatic continent, and some have been so posi- 
tive, as to be ready to cut off debate. The time has come for 
a thorough consideration ot the subject. 

Candor obliges us to acknowledge that many things may be 
said upon both sides, for while there are many symbols which 
resemble those common in the East; yet they are so mingled 
in this country with imitative forms, which must have been 
purely aboriginal in their origin, that it is difficult to identify 

Still, there are certain other symbols, which have been 
recognized as common on both continents, and these we may 
take as evidence on the subject of contact. 

We take first the symbol of the hand This is acknowledged 
to be almct universal in its distribution, for it is found in India, 

i'l Australia, and in all 
parts of America, and 
is always a very im- 
pressive figure wherever 
seen, as it reminds us of 
the red hand, which is 
so common in t"lie Old 
World. The hand upon the rock, is, perhaps, too common to 
have any particular significance; but where the hand is placed 
inside of a circle, especially inside of one formed by a knotted 
serpent, the symbol becomes very suggestive. One such figure 
is shown in the cut. This is especially significant, as it con- 
tains the symbol of the eye marked upon the palm. Doubts 
have been thrown upon its genuineness, yet the evidence is in 
its favor. 

Mr. W. H. Holmes ?ays of it: " I have seen in the National 
Museum a stone disk, on which is a well engraved design, which 
represented two en- 
twined or knotted rat- 
tlesnakes. Within the 
circle, or space, is a well- 
drawn hand, in the palm 
of which is placed an 
open eye. There is not 
sufficient assurance of 
its genuineness, to allow 
it undisputed claim. It 
is said to have been 

obtained from a mound near Carthage, Alabama," General 
Thruston, however, says that the Bimilarity of the open 
hand to those upon the vessels of pottery from Ten- 

Hand on Mound-Bidlders Pottery 

Hand in Central America. 



nessee and Alabama seems to confirm its genuineness. Two 
vessels of pottery decorated with the figure of an open hand 
have been discovered since the publication of Mr. Holmes' 

It is well known that the open hand is a common symbol on 
the monuments of Central America, and they are often asso- 
ciated with the serpent and 
human figures. The cuts 
illustrate the point and make 
it plain that there was a 
peculiar, and yet mysterious 
significance to the symbol; 
and this of itself may account 
for its world-wide distribu- 
tion. The suastika is also a 
symbol which is world-wide 
in its distribution. This is 
generally regarded as an 
equivalent to the fire gen- 
erator, but the symbol has 
many variations and many 
„, ,, ^ , meanings. It varies from the 
Hand and Serpent on Shell Gorget. g^amadton, which was com- 
mon in Cyprus and Athens, and has the same significance as 
the four-rayed wheels in India, and the cru\ ansata of the 
Phoenicians. It always implies revolution, and, as found among 
the mounds, is supposed to symbolize the revolution of the sky. 
It may be called a solar cross. 

It is interesting to verify the fact that the same combina- 
tion of circles, squares, solar crosses and suastikas are found 
with variations among the mounds, that are common in Asia, 
as well as Europe. There may have been a spontaneous agency 
of the same factors in this symbol, and the same natural pheno- 
mena may have been symbolized by it; yet the distribution of 
the symbol is so extensive, and the significance is so similar, that 
one is inclined to ascribe it to an extraneous origin. 

The owl face is also another symbol, which is almost 
world-wide in its distribution. The wii.ged globe is seen in 
two particular localities in Central America, and has become 
familiar to archaeologists from Mr. J. L. Stephen's description. 
It is uncertain whether any such symbol is to be found among- 
the mounds, yet Mr. Clarence Moore has described a vessel 
found in Georgia, near Hare Hammock, which contained a 
peculiar decoration resembling the winged globe or winged 
circle, the wings having a peculiarly natural appearance. He 
has, however, described a vessel found in the VValker Mound 
in Georgia, which had upon the outside a number of circles^ 
with plumage surrounding them, which convey the idea that 
they were imitations of feathers of birds and were purely in- 
digenous in their origin. 












The serpent and tree is another symbol, which has been 
found among the mounds. This is one of the oldest and most 
widely-diffused emblems in the East. Sometimes it is found 
as a column, crowned by a palmette, with branches extend- 
ing to either side, with a vine stretching from the end of the 
branches to the bottom. Sometimes it is a 
fire drill, and the serpent is a rope which 
turns it. Again, it is a tree from which the 
first pair are plucking fruit. In Central America 
the symbol varies in form. It sometimes has a 
bar across the branches, making a cross; some- 
times it is represented with branches shootmg 
out on either side, blossoms at the end of the 
branches, with grotesque human figures cling- 
ing to the trunk: sometimes the cornstalk is 
substituted for the tree, and human faces are 
seen as at Palenque; but the idea is the 
same wherever the symbol is seen. There 
are two tablets, which come from the mounds; 
oneof them, called the Gest Stone, once owned 
Tree and Face. by Mr. Gest of Cincinnati. In this, the symbol 
of the tree is combined with the serpent; a serpent in one view 
being very plain; but in another view, the human face, the arms 
bent inward toward the body, being in the shape of branches, 
and the legs turned upward, also as branches; the roots of the 
tree apparently served as support. The detail, which is char- 
acteristic of the sacred tree in most distant countries, is the 
appearance of serpents, which twine themselves around the 
trunk or stem. The only relic which contains any resemblance 
to this, is the pipe, which is carved in the shape of a human 
face, with branches of a tree wound around the face; the tree 
itself resembling the serpent, recalling the story of Man- 
bozho and the serpent. 

The winged human figure is also a common symbol in 
America, as well as in the East. Everyone knows that 
winged human images are common in Babylonia, and are sug- 
gestive of the prehistoric period; but there are winged figures 
among the mounds which are as interesting as even these. 
These remind us of the Priesthood of the Bow common among 
the Pueblos, and described by Mr. F. II. Gushing, though he 
calls the figures found on the copper plates "Eagle Men," or 
" Man Eagles," and gives to them a mythological significaice. 
The cut below represents a winged figure found in the Hope- 
well Mound. 

There were engraved on this single bone, the head of the 
serpent, with the circles and cross inside of the head, making 
acosmic symbol; also a human image, with feet turned out, 
after the manner of Central American sculpture, the head 
crowned with deer's horns; while from the shoulders extend 
the wings of a bird, the eyes being made of dotted circles, and 



the human face hidden beneath the cross hatching, which sym- 
bolized the serpent's skin. 

The coiled serpent is another symbol which is common 
among the mounds. This is significant of the motion of the 
sky, and resembles the suastika in that respect. There is no 
symbol which is more frequently seen, or more significant. 
The serpent is divided into four parts by rings, the head is 
alvvays within the coil, and the tail on the outside. It is the 
same symbol as that which can be seen on the calendar stones 
in Mexico, the chief difference between them being that the 

^/ te© B "f^ 

U'ujc^d Fissure. 

serpent on the calendar was divided into thirteen parts and has 
a human face issuing from the mouth; while m the shell gorgets, 
the head of the serpent has the shape of concentric circles. 
There are codices in Central America in which four serpents 
are represented with heads joining together; four serpents 
forming a square, with a human face in the middle. The 
spines of the serpents numbering thirteen multiplied by the 
four serpents, making fifty two, exactly as four joints of the 
serpent multiplied by the thirteen circles which are seen upon 
some of the gorgets make fifty-two years in the Mexican cycle. 
The bird is sometimes used alone as a symbol of rain. In 
such cases it has its wings spread and its plumes drooping, 







suggesting the idea of a cloud hovering over the earth and 
dropping rain upon the soil. There is an earthwork in Ohio, 
which represents the bird with drooping wings. It is con- 
tained within a square enclosure and situated upon the summit 
of a hill. Every opening to the enclosure is guarded by a 
mound, showing that it was a sacred place. It may be that the 
same tribe erected this effigy that inscribed the rain bird on 
the rocks, namely the Dakotas. The thunder bird, as seen on 
the rocks, Js shown by the cut, the lightning serpent being 
caused by the flash of the bird's eye. The lightning god is 
also seen in the cut. This is a humanized tree, as well as a 
lightning serpent. 

The looped square with the birds' heads is another symbol. 
This seems to signify the four quarters of the sky, which was 
a common conception among the aborigines. The birds' heads 
are always turned in one direction, and seem to symbolize the 
revolving motion of the sky and is generally associated with 

Humanized Lighttting. Thunder Bird. 

the serpent gorgets, the serpent symbolizing the water, as 
the bird does the air. See plate. 

The suastika is a symbol, which is also common in the 
mounds, may be regarded as a cosmic symbol; but it has the 
additional factor suggesting the idea that it symbolized 
motion. Some of the gorgets have the crescents without the 
circles, showing that the rotary motion was more important 
than the circles which synibolized the heavenly bodies. The 
suastika was also used to symbolize the same thing. The gor- 
gets, which have birds' heads projecting from a looped square, 
have been found in Mississippi, Louisiana, and other localities. 

It also suggests the revolution of the sky as well as the 
four quarters of the earth, and so may be regarded as a cosmic 
symbol — the bird symbolizing the sky, but the looped square 
the earth, as on the humanized figures the horns symbolized 
the wild animals of the forest; the wings symbolized the 
creatures of the air, and the human form symbolized the posi- 
tion of m in among all other creatures 



The cosmic symbol, has also been recognized in the copper 
plates found in the Hopewell Mounds. It resembles the cos- 
mic symbol found at Copan and in various parts ot Mexico. 
But it is here combined with the serpent symbol, and is con- 
tained in a copper plate, which has the shape of a serpent's 
head. On this plate there are four circles, and a cross con- 
necting the circles, with a circle in the center. The significance 
of this symbol, is that the four points of the compass and the 
four quarters of the sky are brought together into one. ' 
1^-, Prof. Putnam has described this cosmic symbol in a pamphlet 
upon^the symbolism found in the Hopewell Mound. The bear, 
the^.serpent, the human face, the horns of the elk, wings of 

Cosmic Symbol and Serpent Head, 

the bird, the claws of the bear, the serpent's head, all are 
strangely mingled together in the engraving which was mingled 
with cross-hatching on a human femur. The great serpent en- 
circled the whole, very much as the serpent encircles the earth 
in the Norse mythology.* 

The phallic symbol was used by the Mound-Builders, and 
signified life and the creative power. It is sometimes seen 
issuing from the mouth. The tablet found near the Cahokia 
Mound illustrates this. 

•A study of the cuts will show how the Mound-Bu Iders combined birds' wing«, animal 
horns and serpa«t bodies with human figures, both in their effigies ana their relics, and often 
made them symbohc of the lightning, the rain, and the operations of nature, using even the 
spider and the butterfly for the same purpose. 

■^. .. 


l> \>IFSi 

.?'•'■-.. ---5^ x^ ct Z e. 

< I 




^^^^4-"^^ V # VV' 


Wife -77:^ 



V. The inference which we draw from the study of the sym- 
bolism used by the Mound-Builders, is that there was a gen- 
eral system which was common throughout the continent of 
North America, and was shared by the Mound-Building 
tribes, but adapted to their circumstances and their precon- 
ceived ideas. This symbolism did not supplant the religious 
systems which prevailed, but was absorbed by them and con- 
formed to them, and made to express the religious thoughts 
which the people had received from their ancestors. We main- 
tain that there was a great variety of religious systems among 
the Mound-Builders. Animal worship, or totemism, prevailed 
among the hunter tribes of the North; sun worship prevailed 
among the agricultural tribes situated along the Ohio River; a 
modified and complicated system of nature worship pre\'ailed 
among tribes which dwelt in the villages of Missouri or Kansas 
and Tennessee; a modified system of idolatry, combined with 
ancestor worship, prevailed in the Gulf States. Each system 
required different symbols, by means of which it could make 
itself known. 

Our supposition'js, however, that much of this symbolism was 
borrowed from the civilized tribes of the Southwest, and 
adapted to the systems which prevailed among the Mound- 
Builders, and was made to express their relgious thoughts and 
their inherited mj-thology, without radically changmg the 
religious system which prevailed. This may seem like a mere 
conjecture, yet the great similarity of the symbols found 
among the mounds of the Mississippi Valley and the ruined 
cities of the Southwest, proves the position. This similarity 
has been recognized by different authors, among whom we 
might mention Mr. W. H. Holmes, Gen. Gates P. Thruston, and 
others. Mr. F. H. Gushing has spoken of the similarity of the 
symbols of the Zunis and the Moquis and those on the copper 
plates found in the stone graves and near the Etowah Mound. 
Mr. Holmes takes the carved shells and engraved disks and 
gorgets, and describes the designs upon them, and compares 
them with the pictographic manuscripts of Mexico, arranging 
them in groups in the following oider: the circle, the cross, the 
looped square, the bird, the spider, the serpent, the human 
face, and the winged figures, and analyzing the parts and show- 
ing the resemblance between them. 

In reference to tde cross, he says: "The design is symbolic, 
undoubtedly used as a symbol by the prehistoric nations of 
the South, and was probably known in the North. They all 
belonged to the American type. It is frequently associated 
with sun worship and has reference to the points of the com- 
pass." Mr. Holmes also says: 

It is well known that the barbarous tribfes of Mexico and South 
America had well-developed systems of sun worship, and that they em- 
ployed symbols, which retained a likeness \o the original. The form of the 
circles, or suns, carved upon the concave surfaces of the shells, is similar 
to that of the paintings on the high rocky cliffs. 


No developed calendar is known among the wild tribes of Norih 
America. The highest achievements known of in this line, consist-ng of 
simple pictographic symbols of the year-, but there is no reason why tha 
Mound-Buildt-rs should not have achieved a pretty accurate division of 
time, resembling in its main features the systems of their Southern neighbors. 

The ancient Mexican pictographic methods abound in representations 
of trees, conventionalized in such a manner as to resemble crosses. By 
comparison of these curious trees with the remarkable cross in the Palen- 
que tablet, I have been led to believe that they must have a common signifi. 
cance and origin. The branches of these cross-shaped trees terminate in 
clusters of symbolic fruit, and the arms of them are loaded down with sym- 
bols. The most remarkable feature is that the crosses perform like func- 
tions, in giving support to a symbolic bird, which is perched upon the sum- 
mit. The analogies go still further, the bases of the cross in the tablet and 
in the paintings are made to rest upon a highly corventionalizf;d figure of 
some mythical creature. A consideration of these facts seems to lead to 
the conclusion that the myths represented are identical, and the cross and 
the cross-like trees have a common origin ; whether the origin is in the tree, 
or in a cross, otherwise evolved, is uncertain 

With all people the bird has been a most important symbol. It came 
naturally to be associated with the phenomena of the sky, the wind, the 
storm, the lightning, and the thunder In the imagination of the-red man 
it became the actual ruler of the elements and the guardian of the four 
quarters of the heavens. The storm bird of the Dakotas dwells iti the 
uppt-r air. When it flaps its wings, we hear the thunder; when it shakes 
out its plumage, the rain descends. 

The significance of the looped figure, which forms a prominent feature, 
has not been determined, but it would be well to point out the fact that a 
similar looped rectangle occurs several times in the ancient Mexican 

Among the insects, the spider is best calculated to attract the attention 
of the savage. It is in many respects a very extraordinary creature, and is 
endowed with powers, which naturally place it along with the rattlesnake 
and other creatures possessing supernatural attributes. With the great 
Shoshone family, the spider was the first weaver. 

An examination of the plates will show that the serpent 
and tree, the circle and cross, and the human figures were re- 
presented by effigies, as well as by relics. It will also reveal 
the fact that human sacrifices and contests between warriors 
are depicted by the relics found in the mounds, as well as by 
the codices from Mexico. 

Now, the question which 'we ask in connection with these 
resemblances, is whether they do not prove a transmission of 
symbols; but if a transmission from one part of the continent 
to another, why not from the Eastern to the Western. It is 
acknowledged now chat the symbols which have been found in 
the buried cities of Knossos, Crete and Mycenre were received 
from Southern Asia, but the very same symbols are also found 
on the American continent, and what is more they have the 
same combinations and seem to have the same underlying 

There are, to be sure, certain serpent effigies here, which 
are not found elsewhere, but if we look at the circles and 
squares, the serpents and trees, birds' wings on human bodies, 
cosmic symbols and whirling crosses, priestly robes and warrior 
attitudes, and phallic symbols in human mouths, we shall find 
the parallel most surprising. It will be noted that the serpent 


This tablet has the same contour as certa-n earthworks, both of which show the taste of 
the Mound-Euilders. 

Cahokia Tablet — Reverse, 

The Phallic Symbol on the Cahokia Tablet. 


and, what is more, that the figure of the tree is also apparent 
in these figures, showing still more conclusively that there was 
a mingling of eastern symbols with the native aboriginal em- 
blems in these human tree figures. 




We have now passed over the different districts which were 
occupied by the Mound-Builders, and have described their 
earthworks, their relics, their symbols, their religious customs, 
and their migrations; but have said little concerning their 
domestic life and their social condition. This will be the sub- 
ject of the present chapter But in treating of it, we shall 
draw illustrations mainly from the Mound-Builders of the 

It will be understood that there was quite a difference 
between the Mound-Building tribes, for some were hunters and 
lived a comparatively wild life, and resembled the wandering 
tribes which were well known to history. The Southern Mound- 
Builders led an agricultural life and were settled in permanent 
villages, many of which may be identified by the groups of 
mounds which are found in different localities, the most of 
them having the form of pyramids, and are found on the banks 
of the rivers and larger streams. These Southern Mound- 
Builders may have been ancestors of the Muscogee tribes, 
which were visited by De Soto in his famous expeditions, but 
if they were, they must have passed through a great change 
before they became known, for the testimony of travellers is to 
the effect that many of the Southern tribes, especially the 
Cherokees, declared that they did not build these mounds, but 
found them, when they first came into the region, and the 
Muscogecs themselves seem to know very little about their 

This may be said of the Mound-Builders of the Gulf 
States, they were more advanced in their stage of culture and 
in their art products than anj other class of Mound-Builders, 
though the tribes which dwelt in Southern Ohio were, perhaps, 
similar to them in many respects. 

In treating of them, we shall class them together, without 
regard to the tribes which survived them, taking the earth- 
works and the relics which have been discovered throughout 
the Gulf States, as our special object of study. 



I. We begin with the earthwork?. It will be understood 
that pyramid mounds are found as tar oorth as St. Louis and 
the mouth of the Missouri River, as far west as the St. Francis 
River in Arkansas, as far east as the Etowah River in Northern 
Georgia, and as far south as the Gulf of Mexico. The largest 
number of them are found at different points along the 
Mississippi River. All the groups present striking resembl- 
ances. This will be seen if we examine the cut. which repre 
sents the works at St. Louis, for here we find that the platform 
mounds were all arranged around an open area, and were 
furnished with graded ways which led to the summit, making 
them resemble the various groups which are scattered through- 
out the Gulf States. 

In reference to t'-; -^ -^e-r r^-- .-n.- -, .,.„.,,... 

that thev were Pvra:;\^ . .. .„c:i. :-.:.- : :;,;:;. r ^ :.. ^ _ 

EarfA Wiarks at St. Lotas. 

Builders of the Southwest, in many respects, suggesting the 
thought that they eith**r belonged to the same stock, or had 
been in contact with them. 

The idea conveyed by their earthworks, is that they mark 
the sites of ancient villages, and were used by the ruling 
classes as the places in which they erected their great houses 
and their rotundas; while the common people dwelt on the 
level ground about them. These great houses, if they were 
situated in Central America and built of stone, would be called 
palaces, and the rotundas would be called temples; for they 
present the same general plan of arrangement, and indicate 
that a very similar form of government prevailed in both 
regions. VVe may take. then, these groups of pyramids scat- 
tered through the Gulf States, as representing the same system 
of society, but at a lower stage: the villages which were located 
around these pyramids, having been organized after the same 



general model as the cities o: tr.e ~:^re . 
give a series of cuts which re^resea: ihe^e 
which were situated on the Mississic-:: 

..zed thbes. We 
a^e sites, some of 
er. others on the 

rivers farther to the east. It will be noticed that these villages 
contained groups of pyramids, but were surro-inied bv arti- 
ficial ponds, which have been called " Fish Preser\-es!~ and 
were protected by the ponds. ver>- much a> the castles of 
Europe were by the wide moats that surrounded them. In 
one case, at Walnut Bayou, the pyramids were connected by 
platforms, and a long wall extended from the p^-^^s.-r-ds along 
the side of the stream, or bayou. (See the cut. > 

It is an interesting fact that Herrera describes ine villages 
through which De Soto passed as " fortified, with a ditch full 
of water conveved to it through a canal from the ereat river. 

•*'-^ ■^-r-* w 

1 - r* -r^^^- 

-I 1 -•. 

J*jrrmautb at U'jJkh* Pj'..-%^ 

The ditch enclosed three sides of :.-.- .. :r.e lourth side be 

ing secured with high and thick pa-.-.._ = s." Having entered 
the pro\"ince of Amilco. they traveled thirty leagues to a town 
of 400 houses and a large square, where the cacique's house 
stood upon a mound, made by art. on the bank of a river. 

Du Pratz also speaks of the Natchez in 1720. He sa^ s; 
"The sovereign of the Natchez showed me their temple, 
which is about thirty feet square and stands on an artificial 
mound, about eight feet high, by the side of a river. The 
mound slopes from the front, but on the other side it is steeper." 

The principle structure at Walnut Bayou is 220 feet long, 
165 feet broad, and 30 feet high. It has a ' ly on the 

south side. 60 feet from the base, and leads in :.^....i.r grade to 
the top. A similar mound, smaller in size, faces the pyramid, 
with a graded way and similar platforms. At the east side 
are three pyramids which are connected, the central one being 



96 feet square, and 10 feet high ; two others, 60 feet square, and 
8 feet high, the three being connected by a wall, or terrace, 40 
feet wide, but only 4 feet high. One of these terraces is 75 feet 
long; the other, 125 feet long. The elevated way is 3 feet high, 
75 feet wide, and 2,700 feet in length. There are excavations on 
either side of the embankment, 200 feet wide and 300 feet long. 
The relative situation of the pyramids to one another, would 
indicate that they were the abodes of the chiefs, that the pub- 
lic square was between them, and that the houses of the com- 
mon people were situated on the level ground outside of the 


The relative situation of the excavations to each other and 
to the elevated way suggests the idea that the latter may have 

been used as a place of 
refuge, or a canoe land- 
ing, in case of high water; 
or, what is more probable, 
as a path from the pyra- 
mids to the fish preserves. 
The works at Prairie 
Jefferson are situated in 
the midst of cultivated 
lands, and have two lines 
of ditches surrounding 
them, with large ponds 
inside the ditches. This 
would indicate that the 
people depended upon 
the fields, in which they 
raised maize, for subsist- 
ence; but at the same 
time gathered fish into 
their artificial ponds. The 
grouping of the pyramids 
suggests the thought that 
they were not only used 
as platforms on which the ruling classes placed their houses, 
but also were places of resort in high water, exactly as were 
the pyramids surrounding the great Cahokia Mounds. The 
size of these pyramids may be found in the following table : 

The works at Prairie Jefferson consist of six mounds, which 
vary from" 4 to 48 feet in height, from 60 to 120 feet in length, 
and 40 to 135 feet in width. One mound called the " Temple," 
has a level area on its summit, 51 by 45 teet in diameter. The 
top is reached by a winding wa}-; but it reminds us of the stair- 
ways leading up to the temples of Central America. The 
mounds which face this temple are all alike; they have terraces 
in front which incline toward the open space, but are quite 
steep in the rear. There is an embankment, with a ditch, on 
the outside, and a pond on the inside, which may have served 

too h U A* h«lt 

Pyramid Mounds at Prairie Jefferson. 



as a defense. The ponds surrounding this group have outlets, 
which were controlled as the Mound-Builders desired. But 
the earth which was taken from them was probably used in 
forming the pyramids. 

There is another group at Selzertown, Mississippi. It con- 
sists of a truncated pyramid, 600 by 400 feet at the base, and 
covers six acres of ground. This is 40 feet high, and is sur- 
rounded by a ditch averaging ten feet in depth, and is ascended 
by graded ways. The area on the top embraces about four 
acres. There are two conical mounds on the summit, one at 
each end; the one at the west end is not far from 40 feet in 
height, and has an area at the top of about 30 feet in diameter. 
This may have been used a?^ a rotunda, though it is unusual to 
have a rotunda on the summit of a square pyramid. This large 
mound has its sides to correspond with the cardinal points. It 
is su rr ou nde d' by 
eight other mounds, 
placed at various 
points. These are 
comparatively small. 
There are other 
groups of pyramids 
along the Mississippi 
River, from Cairo to 
a point fifty miles 
above New Orleans. 
The whole region 
joining the Missis- 
sippi Ri\er and its 
tributaries was 
densely populated 
by the same people. 
Mr. G. C. Forshey 

describes works of the same kind, some of immense propor- 
tions at Trinity in the parish of Catahoula, Louisiana. Other 
mounds are found at Natchez, one of them 25 feet high. Prof. 
J. T. Short says: 

These observations convince us that the State of Louisiana and the val- 
leys of the Arkansas and Red Rivers, were not only the most thickly popu- 
.lated wing of the Mound-Builders' dominion, but also furnished remains 
which present affinities with the great works of Mexico so striking that no 
doubt can longer exist that the same people were the architects of both. 

There are other works similar to these, in Georgia on the 
Ocomulgee River, at Shoulder Bone Creek and other localities, 
cuts of which are given. The most interesting group is that 
on the Etowah River. These mounds are in the midst of a 
beautiful and fertile valley, occupying a central position, cover- 
ing an area of some fifty acres, bounded on the east by the 
Etowah River, and on the west by an artificial canal and two 
artificial ponds. The width of the canal is from 20 to 55 feet, 

I 'lUa^e on OcDiulgce River, 



and from 5 to 25 feet in depth. Within the enclosure arc seven 
mounds. The largest of which is a pentagon, the sides as fol- 
lows: 150, 160, 100, 90, and 100 feet; the diameter, 225 feet; 
height, 65 feet. The approach to the top is by an inclined plane, 
leading from one terrace to another. The terraces are 65 feet 
in width, and extend from the mound toward the southeast. 
There is a pathway on the eastern angle, which Mr. Jones 
thinks was designed for the priesthood alone. Dr. Thomas 
thinks this mound was visited b)^ De Soto, and was the place 
where the ambassadors of the noted Cacique of Cutifachiqui 
delivered their message to him. 

In the mound marked B, adjoining this pyramid, the assist- 
ants of the Bureau of Ethnology found two copper plates which 
represent human 
figures with wings 
issuing from their 
shoulders. These 
figures have pecu- 
liarities, which re- 
mind us of the Mexi- 
can or Aztec Divini- 
ties. They also re- 
semble those found 
in Babylonia, but 
they have arms as 
well as wings. Still, 
these figures repre- 
sent dancers covered 
with birds masks and 
wings, but havingthe 
usual costumes of 
the Indians, with knit 
bands around the 
ankles, legs, wrists 
and arms, with a 
pouch at the side, 
a maxtli or sash fall- 
ing down in front. The attitude reminds us of a medicine 
man, or chief, engaged in dancing. 

II. The houses of the Southern Mound-Builders are worthy 
of study. These differed from the huts of the Northern 
Indians in all respects, for they were built with upright walls, 
with rectangular rooms, and with roofs which were generally 
thatched but projected over the side and came down near the 
ground. Some of the houses were built with posts, and were 
lathed and plastered both outside and inside, though without 
using nails. The lathing was made of canes, worked in and 
out around the posts and held in position by interwoven twigs. 
The plaster was applied both inside and out. (See the cut.) 

The Etowah Mound. 










The remains of such houses have been found in the mounds 
of Missouri, and in the villages which abound amid the cypress 
swamps of Arkansas. There were many dwelling sites, some 
of which contained a number of fire beds, showing that a suc- 
cession of dwellings had been built, one above the other; the 
dwellings having been burned and rebuilt a third or fourth time. 
One of the dwellings contained three rooms nearly square. 

Skeletons were found under the layers of the hearth inside 
the dwellings. These were of different sizes, and, perhaps. 

Stone Cist itt the Shape of a Hut. 

represent members of the same family. This shows that 
the custom was to bury bodies under the hearth, burn the 
houses and build again; or, possibly, burn the house on the 
occasion of any death in the household. It was the custom 
of the Natchez to burn the body of the chief, and along with 
him his wives and servants, but there is no evidence of such 
a custom among the Mound-Builders of this region. The 
author, at one time, discovered in Adams County, Illinois, a 
mound which contained at its base a fire-bed, or altar, on which a 

-fii— ^. 

r' -. 

-.- -.^ 

i|,7-"^.:ii jlllf 

Mound- Builders' House Wall. 

chief had been cremated, with his wives and servants by his side. 
It is plain, then, that there was a- succession of tribes 
throughout the Mississippi Valley, some of which built their 
houses in rectangular shape; others, in conical form. The very 
shape of the houses furnish a hint as to the stage of culture 
reached. The ordinary style of building a house among the 
hunting Indians was that of a cone or hemisphere. But with 
the sedentary tribes, who were agriculturist, the long house was 



common. The Southern tribes varied according to situation. 
Lodge circles are very numerous on the banks of the Missouri 
River and in the cypress swamps of Arkansas, and among the 
stone graves of Tennessee. 

But throughout the Southern States the council houses, or 
great houses, were rectangular. They were sometimes built on 
the summits of pyramids, and formed a quadrangle, called a 
public square. Such houses, according to Bartram, were com- 
mon among the Cherokees and various tribes situated in the 
Gulf States. 

The stone graves were often placed in a circle and arranged 
in tiers, one above the other, making a heap resembling a coni- 

Head Vase from Tennessee. 

cal hut, but with a fire-bed in the center. In this way the dead 
were supposed to be following the same habits with the living, 
exactly as was the case with the ancient inhabitants of Europe, 
who erected the dolmens, though there the bodies were placed 
in a sitting posture, and the chambers were rectangular. 
Among the stone graves the usual mode of burial was hori- 
zontal, with a bowl or jug near the head or feet or hips, and 
always with a bottle near the body. This is very suggestive of 
the belief in the future state. Sometimes vessels in the shape 
of the human head, or masks inscribed with the human face, 
were buried with the body. One vessel has been found finely 
decorated with a life-like mask. 



There is a lesson to be 
learned from this succession 
of houses, for it proves that 
the villages were occupied 
for a long time, and instead 
of being as recent as some 
would represent, the vil- 
lages were ancient. The 
same impression is made by 
the study of the burial 
mounds, for some of these 
present a succession of 
burials and indicate that a 
number of different tribes 
are buried in the same 
mounds, thus unconsciously 

Pottery from Ash-Pits in Ohio. 

leaving a record of occupation, which may have stretched over 
a period of even a thousand years, and embraced a succession 
of population. 

111. The pottery and other specimens of art which be- 
longed to the Southern Mound-Huilders were of a superior 
character, and show that this people had more than ordinary 
skill in moulding clay into imitative shapes. This is indicated 
by the vase in the shape of a human face, just described. It is 
also further proved, by the great variety of shapes in which 
clay was moulded by this unknown people. 

We may say that the pottery of the Southern Mound- 
Builders was very superior to that found in most of the North- 
ern moundS; though there are a few exceptional cases. To 
realize this, we only need to examine the rude vessels taken 
out from the mounds of New York and the ash-beds of South- 
ern Ohio, and compare them with those from the stone graves 

of Tennessee and the 
cypress swamps of 
Arkansas. We shall 
find that the former 
occasionally have 
handles on the side, 
some with two rows 
of handles. But there 
are r^irely any imita- 
tive shapes presented 
by them. They are, 
for the most part, 
plain cooking vessels, 
designed to be sus- 
pended over the fire, 
though they occasion- 
ally have a 'pointed 
Pottery from the Ash-Pits in Ohio. base, giving the idea 



that they were forced into the ground and a fire built around 
them. It is easy to draw a picture of the people using these 
pottery vessels, as gathered about the fire outside their hut. 
But it would be a picture of a rude people, without skill in 
moulding pottery, and with no taste in decoration. The only 
taste displayed was in decorating the bodies of their chiefs 
with feathers, and painting their own faces in different colors, 
or carving pipes in shapes imitating birds and animals. 

The Southern Mound-Builders decorated their pottery with 
a great variety of ornaments, with spiral lines, with circles, 
with bands, crosses, \olutes or scrolls, and occasionally with 
the suastika or hooked cross. There are vessels, also, which 
give the shape of a star, with four, eight or nine rays, and a 
circle on the face of a star, representing the sun. One bottle 
described by General Thruston has a hand painted on the out- 
side; this was from the stone graves. But a number of bottles 
and vases from the middle Mississippi district, are decorated 

Pottery frotit the Stone Graves. 

with scrolls and loops, as well as spirals, and are very graceful. 

Dr. Edward Evers has described the pottery found in the 
swamp villages of Southeastern Missouri, and so throws ad- 
ditional light upon the character and civilization of the people. 
He says all the pottery belongs to nations, who had abandoned 
their nomadic habits and were following agricultural pursuits. 

All this pottery is made of dark-grayish clay, mixed with 
sand and shells. The larger portion of it is sun-dried. In 
many of the ornamented specimens the decoration is painted 
in red, white and black. Some are decorated with birds' heads, 
which are hollow, holding clay pellets, which rattle when the 
vessel is shaken. The curious shape of one \essel suggests 
that it was a lamp. Square-shaped vessels are the earliest 
shapes, very rarely decorated. Other vessels have short 
cylindrical necks, with no handles, resembling large vases or 
jars, but decorated with disks and circles; occasionally with 
pointed rays in different colors. One jar has a band around 
the bowl, with circles above and below the band. Other jars 
are imitative in shape, of gourds and other natural objects. 

The bottles present the most graceful forms. Some of 
these are shown in the plate. One shows a fish with scales, 


which are very natural; another, a domestic dog, with spiral 
lines from mouth to tail; another has a serpent around the 
bowl; another, a series of circles with a cross inside, and the 
suastika is found in other circles. Another bottle has concen- 
tric circles in different colors. The form of these bottles is 
very graceful. The symbolism is quite suggestive. There are 
other vessels and dishes, some with flaring sides, scalloped 
rims; others very plain, resembling large bowls; others of 
rectangular shape. 

There are also dippers which resemble gourds, and pots 
which are made in the shape of animals and fishes; the back 
of the animal is open, but the sides or body make the bowl. 
Occasionally human heads are represented, the neck forming 
the base, the face and head the bowl, and the opening of 
the bowl being at the top of the head. The most graceful of 
all are the bottles, for these have long necks and spherical 
bowls, which present beautiful rounded shapes, decorated with 
attractive figures. The vases in imitation of gourds are very 

The pottery from the stone graves of Tennessee resembles 
that found in Missouri and Arkansas, and is probably made by 
the same race of Mound-Builders. A large number of these 
vessels are kettle shaped, varying in size from little toys, one 
inch wide, to large pots, a yard in diameter. A set of bowls 
of well-burned ware present symmetrical forms. A bowl, or 
drinking cup, with a head on the edge, is one of the best pieces 
of modeling in terra-cotta. Another IdowI, with a head on the 
rim, and arms and feet on the sides, is interesting. Drinking 
cups in the shape of sea shells are numerous. A little toy 
vessel in the shape of a fish, is also attractive. 

A group of pottery from the stone graves representing fish 
and animal forms are familiar models of the old pottery- 
makers. These may represent the emblems of the Southern 
tribes. Similar forms are found in Arkansas and Missouri. 

The pottery vessels which imitate the human face and form 
are very interesting, because they give an idea of how the 
pottery-makers looked. There is a difference between them, 
for some of the faces resemble those of Indians; others have 
the features of the white man. The very color of the pottery 
makes the resemblance the more striking. 

There is a tradition that a white race forn\erly existed amoncr 
the Mound-Builders, though the general supposition is that 
they were Albinos. The-e pottery vessels, however, represent 
faces which resemble those of white men of historic countries. 
We base no argument upon this resemblance, and yet it is very 
striking. Dr. Thomas Wilson holds, in his work on "Suastika," 
that the shell found in the Big Toco Mound in Tennessee, 
represented in the Twelfth Annual Report of the Bureau of 
Ethnology, gives evidences of Buddhism in the Western 
Hemisphere. This shell is in fragments, but it represents a 



person with slim waist, legs crossed Hindu fashion, with long 
feet, broad toes; a girdle about the waist; a triangular covering 
on the hips; bands about ankles and arms; wings extending 
from the shoulders, the feathers marked by circles and dots. 
The whole figure being seated upon a circular cushion, repre- 
sented by the edge of the shell. 

All these show a different dress from the ancient North 
Americans. There is a mystery about this whole subject of 
symbolism, which cannot be solved at present. We only call 
attention to the figure, for the sake of showing that the art of 
the Southern Mound-Builders was quite superior to that of the 
Northern Indians. And this suggests that they belonged to a 

different stock, and may 
have come from a differ- 
ent source. Possibly they 
may ha\'e received some 
of their symbols from 
more civilized races. 

1 he pottery found in 
the sand mounds of 
Florida, is very different 
from that found in the 
Gulf States further west, 
and indicates a different 
stage of culture. This 
pottery is made up of 
large bowl-like vessels 
which have no bottom, 
the use of which is a 
mystery. There are also 
, ^\) many pottery vessels in 
' 'jttJf ^^^ shape of animals and 
fishes, some of which are 
very grotesque, as if 
made only tor amuse- 

There is very little de- 
coration on this Florida 
pottery, and no such symbolism as may be seen in that found 
in the stone graves. Still, if we compare the Florida pottery 
with that found in the Northern States— New York, Michigan, 
Wisconsin, Minnesota, and Iowa— we shall conclude that this 
people were better pottery-makers. This impression is con- 
firmed by the study of the fragments picked up on the surface, 
for many of these are decorated with a variety of patterns. 

The pottery of the Gulf States furnishes sonie problems 
not easy to solve, as we occasionally come upon vessels which 
seem to be extra limital in origin. One such vessel is shown 
in the cut. It represents a water vessel supported by a tripod, 
in which we recognize three human faces. These remind us of 

P'ase JVM Three Heads. 



the Triad of the Hindus, though there is no symbolism and no 
ornament about the faces, and we are left only to the simple 
fact that the three faces are joined together and belong to the 
same piece. Still, if we take the strange combination of heads 
and compare it with the tripods made up of \Mshnu, Siva and 
Brahma, so common in India, and then take the shell orna- 
tnent, which presents the seated figure in the attitude of 
Buddha, we shall be led to ask whether there was not at one 
time some Hindu visitor in the land. This xessel was found in 
the Hollywood Mound in Georgia. Another bottle was found 
in the same mound, which was ornamented with the figure of a 
large star with eigh- 
teen rays; also a light 
anda dark circle, with 
a cross in the center 
•of a circle, the whole 
representing a combi- 
nation of symbols 
which is very signifi- 
cant. In the same 
mound was a pot 
Avhich was ornament- 
ed with a feathered 
serpent, whose body 
was covered with 
lozenge - shaped fig- 
ures and cross-hatch- 
ing, making it resem- 
ble the serpent sym- 
bols of the far South- 
west. There were 
fragments of porce- 
lain and pieces of iron 
in the mound, which 
showed the presence 
of the white man. 

IV. The copper 
relics which have 
been found in the 
mounds are the best 
sources of information, as to the state of culture reached 
"by the Mound-Builders. Copper relics seem to have been 
scattered all over the Mound-Builder territory, but are not 
wholly confined to that territory, for a few have been found 
•on the Northwest coast, and others in the far Southwest. All 
of these have different shapes from those of the Mississippi 
Valley, and seem to have been used as badges of distinction, 
or emblems of office. The same is true of a certain portion 
•of the copper found in the mounds, though the majority 
of them are articles used for practical purposes, such as 

Florida Pottery. 



axes, chisels, knives, spear-heads, awls, needles and fish hooks. 
They are more numerous in the region of the copper mines of 
Wisconsin. No state has furnished a greater number or var ety 
of copper relics than Wisconsin, in which copper mines are situ- 
ated. Large collections of copper relics from this state may 
be found in Chicago, in Madison and Milwaukee, Wis., and 
Davenport, Iowa; also, in the National Museum, Washington, 
and many other localities. 

The first account of the finding of copper relics, was pub- 
lished by Colonel Sargent in Drake's "Picture of Cincinnati," 
and by Dr. S. P. Hildreth of Marietta. Ohio, it appears that 
certain silvor-covered plates of copper had been found in one 
of the streets of Marietta, near the old fort. These had been 
buried in a mound with a body; but the obsequies had been 
celebrated by fire, and while the ashes were yet hot, a circle of 

flat stones had 
been laid over the 
body, and the fire 
smothered. A 
mound, ten feet 
high and thirty 
feet in diameter, 
was then erected. 
The find consisted 
, of three large cir- 
cular bosses, or 
- ornaments for a 
^ sword belt. A 
buckler, of cop- 
per o\-er-laid with 
a thick plate of 
silver, was on the 
forehead of the 
body. About the 
same time, other copper relics, which were called "sword 
scabbards," were discovered; also a piece of sheet copper, 
used as an ornament for the hair, and a copper plumb and 
a cylinder of copper. All of these, especially the "sword 
scabbards," suggested the presence of a civilized people, and 
were so interpreted by the discoverers. 

The so-called sword scabbards were afterward explained by 
Prof. F. W. Putnam, and the so-called bosses were shown to be 
ear ornaments, or spool ornaments; and the silver-plated sword 
scabbards were shown to be sheaths for spears. The theory 
that a sword scabbard and belt, plumb bobs or bosses, and 
articles of iron had been found in the mounds was soon 

Later on, in the year 1876, a discovery was made of copper 
relics, and many other objects, in a mound at Davenport, Iowa. 
These relics consisted of axes wrapped in a coarse cloth; also 

Copper Relics from Iowa Mound. 



a number of copper needles and other articles. The find was 
described by Dr. J. W. Farquharson. who also described the 
Davenport Tablets, and mentioned the fact that some had re- 
garded them as containing a narrative of the Flood. 

The discussion over the Mound-Builder problem was pre- 
cipitated anew by these different finds; some holding that a 
mysterious people had once dwelt in the Mississippi Valley, 
but had disappeared; others believing that these relics were 
left by the ancestors of the Indian tribes. The latter opinion 
was upheld by the Bureau of Ethnology. 

A copper plate from a mound in Vernon County, Wisconsin, 
is given in the cut. This mound was 50 feet in diameter, and 
4% feet high. Ten skeletons were found at various depths; at 
the depth of four feet, two were found; on the skull of one 

r^^^y^W«'-'>:— ■=■- " .^^i;-^ r^v-.^iT^.? JujF^-^ 

.^4---3£: -;T"-^s"- ^«0: 

Copper Plate fro7n Mound in Wisconsin. 

was a thick copper plate, beaten out of native copper with rude 
implements, which had been probably used as a breast plate 
and part of the dress of the Mound-Builder. This plate 
resembles one found by Professor Andrews of Ohio, both of 
which show that the Mound-Builders of this region were 
accustomed to use copper as articles of dress, as well as 
weapons and personal ornaments and religious symbols. 

A discovery was made by the assistants of the Bureau, in 
1883, in the neighborhood of the great Etowah Mound, which 
non-plussed all parties. 

Several stone graves Vv^ere found here at the bottom of a 
conical mound, near the great mound, or pyramid, and within 
the same enclosure. Each of these graves contained a single 
skeleton. Three of them were those of children; four of 
them, those of adults. The children had on the wrists and 
neck shell beads. One of the adults had a large conch shell 



and a lot of copper near the head; another had an engraved 
shell on the breast; another, a piece of copper under the head. 
The most interesting objects were two thin copper plates, and 
two engrav^ed shells, each of which presented a human figure 
in the attitude of dancing. These had wings on the shoulders 
and a mask upon the face, resembling the beak of a bird, thus- 
making composite figures, part human and part animal,, sug- 
j^esting a peculiar superstition or ceremony. The discovery of 
these figures gave rise to renewed discussion. This discussion 
was, however, affected by the theories which had been pre- 
viously held and advocated. Those who believed in the 
identity of the Mound-Builders with the modern Indians, 
advocated the idea that the figures proved a contact with the 
white man, and were post-Columbian in their origin; while 
those who advo- 
cated the antiquity 
of the Mound- 
Builders, believed 
that they showed a 
contact with the 
Toltecs and Aztecs. 
The latter is the 
opinion of the 
writer, for two of 
these figures seem 
to be holding in the 
hand a human head 
or mask; thus sug- 
gesting a human 
sacrifice, a custom 
peculiar to the 
Aztecs, and not 
common among 
the Indians. 

The figures have 
bands about the 
arms and legs, 
pouches at the side, 
and badges in the hands which resemble those worn by 
Indian dancers; the badges on the top of the head resemble 
the banner stones, but suggest the double-bladed axe, so 
common a symbol in the East. The attitudes are those 
of Indian dancers, but the wings which protrude from the 
shoulders resemble those which are seen on the shoulders of 
the priests of Babylonia, The fact that these graves were 
near the Etowah Mound, and that these copper plates were so 
full of symbols resembling others which are common in the 
region, confirms the theory that the Southern Mound-Builders 
were partakers of the peculiar customs and symbols of the 
tribes of the Southwest. Still, the fact that a single plate was 

Shell Gorget from Etowah Mound. 



found in each grave, shows the official character of the person 
buried, and suggests that there may have been a transmission of 
symbols from one part of the country to another, and that the 
Southern Mound-Builders had contact with the civilized tribes 
of Central America in prehistoric times. 

It is not an unusual thing to find a mound containing a num- 
ber of these cists arranged in two, three or more tiers. Dr. Jones 
says graves ot this character ha\e been observed in Northern 
Georgia, Eastern Tennessee, the valley of the Delaware, Ohio 
and Southern Illinois. He expresses the belief that in some 
former age this ancient race must have come in contact with 
Europeans, and derived this mode of burial from them, and 
bases his view on the presence of copper crosses and vases 
with crosses and scalloped circles. Dr. Thomas thinks that they 

m,- ■ 



Copper y. .... jrom Florida. 

were built by the Shawnees, and says that "it was in the graves 
near the Etowah Mounds that the copper plates and engraved 
shells were found, which have given rise to so much discussion. 
In all their leading characteristics the designs are suggestive 
of Mexican or Central American origin; but the copper plates 
are suggestive of European influence. First, the wings rise 
from the back, as angel's wings, and do not replace the arms, 
as in Mexican designs; second, the stamping seems to have 
been done by a harder metal than the aborigines were acquainted 
with; third, that engraved shell gorgets form a link which not 
only connects the Mound-Euilders with historic times, but tends 
to corroborate that the stone graves were built by the Shawnees." 
On the other hand. Dr. Thomas Wilson maintains that the 
copper relics and the shell gorgets found in the Etowah 
Mound and in the stone graves, prove that there was contact 


with historic countries in prehistoric times, and that Buddhistic 
symbols may be recog^nized in various localities. 

Bartram's description of the burial customs of the Choctaws 
proves that they rather than the Shawnees, were the Stone Grave 
people. After keeping the bodies of the dead heroes for a 
time, they make a grand funeral. The people then take the 
coffins and slowly proceed to the place of interment, where 
they place the cofifins in order, forming a pyramid of them, 
and lastly cover all with earth, which makes a conical hill or 
mound. This proves that the Stone Grave people were Mus- 
cogees, but there are analogies between the Muscogees and 
the Mayas which are also very surprising. These analogies are 
as follows: i, the rotunda resembles the caracol in shape and 
1 ication; 2, the great house, or public square, resembles the 
palace; 3, the platform mounds resemble the terraced pyramids; 
4, tlie artificial lakes resemble the cenotes; 5, the earth walls 
on either side of the chunky yards resemble the "seats" on 
cither side of the "gymnasium"; 6, the location of the 
rotunda, with its serpent pillars, near the chunky yard, is the 
same as that of the stairway and temple, with the serpent 

Copper relics have been found in Florida, which differ in 
all respects from those found among the Mound-Builders. 
These have been described by Mr. Clarence E. Moore, who 
has made many discoveries among the sand mounds. He 
claims that these copper relics are prehistoric, and show the 
symbolism which prevailed in Florida. 

Mr. Moore describes a piece of sheet copper, with a central 
boss and elliptical ornaments at the corners; also an oval orna- 
ment, with oval boss surrounded by double lines of beaded 
ornamentation; another oval boss; also two elliptical beads of 
sheet copper, and a small button of copper; all of which were 
found at Port Royal, Florida* He says that the presence bf 
bark and vegetable fabrics with the copper is almost universal. 
A breast plate, with a decoration consisting of circles and sym- 
bols, arranged in a very regular manner, but showing rivets 
which have joined two small copper sheets, all of which ex- 
hibited the workmanship of the prehistoric people, was found 
in the same region. 

V. The symbolism of the Southern Mound-Builders remains 
to be described. We have seen that there was a great differ- 
ence in the religious systems of the Mound-Building tribes; 
for those situated in Wisconsin were evidently totemistic ani- 
mal worshipers; those in Ohio were sun worshipers; the Stone 
Grave people were apparently given to the worship of the 
heavenly bodies and the personification of the Nature powers; 
while those in the Gulf States possessed idols, which they 
placed in their houses and on the pyramids. 

We may say that there is no part of the Mississippi Valley 

•See the figures on the preceding page. 



where symbols are more numerous than among these stone 
graves and the pyramid mounds of the Gulf States. This is 
found in the spool ornaments, in the shell gorgets, in the cop- 
per plates, as well as upon the pottery;* but is somewhat diffi- 
•cult to unravel. There is, to be Sure, a distinction between the 
symbolism and the ornaments, and yet the fact that both are 
found to resemble those prevailing among the Southwest tribes, 
as very suggestive. 

The spool ornaments found in the stone graves and in the 
Ohio mounds, show that there was considerable intercourse 
between the tribes of the Mississippi Valley. These spool- 
shaped articles were always of copper, and resembled the ear- 
rings which may be seen on the copper plates found near the 
Etowah Mound, and on the shell gorgets found in the stone 

Sun Symbol on Shell Gorget. 

graves. They were probably used for holding the tassels, or 
feather bundles, which were the ensigns of office with the 
•chiefs and medicine men. 

They resemble the ornaments which are seen on nearly all 
the human figures found in the codices of the Mayas, as well 
as those which are sculptured on the fa(;ades of the shrines and 
temples. The same is true of the bands encircling the ankles, 
the legs, wrists and arms of the dancing figures. There is no 
such combination of symbols in these dancing figures, as may 
be seen in the image of the god Tlaloc, for in the latter we find 
the shoulders draped with a tiger skin. The rna.xtli, or sash, 
is in the shape of a serpent, and the head-dress is full of all 

•The plate representing the pottery from the Cypress Swamps shows the various synnbol 
which were common among the Southern Mound-Builders lu this we see the serp«nt, the 
.cross, the circles and the suastika. The shell gorgets from the Stone Graves also exhibit the 
same figures. 



kinds of symbols of the vegetable and animal^world, showing 
that the symbolism had become complicated; - But_^so far as it 
goes, the symbolism of 
the Stone Grave peo- 
ple and the Southern 
Mound-Builders was of 
the same general char- 

There is consider- 
able resemblance be- 
tween the symbols of 
this people and those 
which are given by the 
mythology of the vari- 
ous Indian tribes, for 
we find the number 
four in the looped 
square, with the birds' 
heads projecting from 
the square; also in the 
cross contained in the 
square; the lines which 

Birds' Heads and Looped Square. 

form the square itself, and the dots and circles which are in- 
scribed upon the shells, as well as in the joints of the spiders'" 
legs, showing that the number four was very sacred. We find 

also that the num- 
ber thirteen is not 
so common as in 
Central America,, 
nor the number 
twenty; yet, it may 
have been intro- 
duced among the 
civilized races by 
the priests, who 
made their sacred 
year to consist m^ 
the multiplying of 
thirteen by twenty, 
and the secular year 
by multiplying 
eighteen by twenty. 
The comparison be- 
tween the symbol- 
ism of the Pueblos 
and the Mound- 
I^uilders is very 
marked. Here, we find seven and thirteen are sacred num- 
bers. These are drawn from the four quarters of the sk}-, 
with the zenith and the nadir added, making six, which, with 

spider Gorget from Missouri. 



the same division of the sky and the common center, gives us 
the number thirteen; exactly as the four divisions of the sky 

and the earth, with the 
throne of the emperor 
in the center, gives the 
number nine to the 
Celestial Empire. The 
resemblance between 
the sj'mbolism of the 
wild tribes of the North 
and that of the Mound- 
Builders, has been taken 
by some to prove that 
there was no difference 
between the people; the 
tribes were all alike, and 
were in contrast with 
the people of the South- 

We have, however. 
Fighting Figures from Stone Graves. ^^^^^ ^^ compare the 

fighting figures which are seen upon the shell gorgets with the 
figures found in Central America, to prove that there must have 
been contact. There are birds' wings and claws in these figures, 
just as there are birds' wings in the shield of the Priesthood of 
the Bow found among the Pueblos, and in the thunder bird orna- 
ments of the Thlinkits. But in the latter there are no arms along 
with the wings; while with the gorgets, the arms are promi- 
nent, and the hands hold 
weapons, as important 
parts of the figure. The 
fact, however, that the 
serpent and the circle 
are so closely associated 
with the symbols com- 
mon among the civilized 
tribes of the Southwest, 
would show that they 
were either borrowed 
from them, or were de- 
veloped independently, 
and yet embodied the 
same fundemental prin- 

The great serpent in 

the Ohio Valley shows piguting Figures from Mexico. 

how promment this sym- 
bol was among the Mound-Builders of that region, but the 
combination of the serpent, the cross, the circle, the bird, 
the winged figure, and the human image, shows that symbolism 



had reached a great perfection among these Southern Mound- 
Builders, and only needed the presence of a more cultivated 
priesthood for it to equal that which existed in the Southwest. 
The shell gorgets found in the stone graves are very inter- 
esting on account of their symbolism, as they indicate a 
familiarity with the motion of the heavenly bodies and the 
apparent revolution of the sky, and the habit of personifying 
the Nature powers under the figures of birds, spiders, serpents, 
circles, crosses, and occasionally human faces. 

The engraved shell gorgets and the copper plates found in 
the mounds of the Gulf States, are deserving of a closer study 
than they have ever received; for they show that a religious 
system had been developed among them, far more elaborate 
than any among the wild tribes of the North. And it was 

purely of prehistoric origin, 
and not owing to contact 
with the white man after 
the time of the Discovery. 
The point which we shall 
make from all these facts, 
is that the Mound-Builders, 
and especially those situa- 
ted in the Gulf States, \a ere 
not by any means as recent 
in origin, or as wild and 
uncultivated, as many have 
imagined them to be. 

The attempt to identify 
them with the modern 
Indians has been over-rid- 
den, and has had a tend- 
ency to put the Mound- 
Builders, as a class, in the 
wrong light, for there is no Indian tribe of the present time 
■who properly represents the real condition of the Mound- 
Builders of the prehistoric age. There was certainly a differ- 
ence between them and the Indians as at present known, and 
it is far better to take the picture presented by their works 
and relics as our guide, than to take the Indians, degraded as 
they have been by contact with the white man, as representa- 
tives of the people who have passed away, but whose works are 
still remaining upon the soil, and whose relics are gathered in 
museums and cabinets for our inspection. The resemblance 
between the Southern Mound-Builders which occupied the 
region from the Etowah Mound to the Great Cahokia Mound, 
and on farther west to the Cypress Swamps of Missouri, is on 
the other hand very striking. This resemblance is found in the 
pottery and the symbols seen on the shell gorgets, as well as 
in the shape of the mounds themselves. 

The pipes and the pottery which are made in imitation of 

Suasiika on Shell Goryet. 


biids and animals, are numerous in the stone graves; while idol 
pipes are more numerous in the region of the pyramids. The 
best of these were plowed up near the base of the pyramid 
mounds on the Etowah River many years ago. 

The Southern Mound-Builders, however, seem to have 
recognized the motion of the sky, for all of the symbols, such 
a- the serpents and crescents, hooked cross, and birds' heads, 
are presented in coils, as if to represent revolving motion. The 
circles also are arranged in a way to suggest the sun, moon and 
heavenly bodies. Even the human figures have bent legs and 
arms, and hemispherical heads. The various elements also 
seem to have been recognized and symbolized, tor the spicier 
has the zigzag in its mandibles, to symbolize lightning. Its 
legs were divided into four parts, the hooked cross inside of a 
circle forms the body, while the four bars and eight dots are 
seen in the tail. The birds' heads projecting from the looped 
square, with an eight-rayed star inside the square, and a circle 
and cross on the face of the star, evidently symbolized the air, 
or rather sky, in motion. The symbols for fire are not so easily 
recognized,' yet the suastika was originally a fire-generator. 
The earth was also symbolized in the shell gorgets. 

The wooden relics which were discovered by Mr. F. H. 
Cushing on the Island Keyes off the coast of Florida, are also 
carved in imitation of birds and animals, showing that even 
here an ancient people lived, who were allied to the Mound- 

It is strange that a people should have lived here on an 
island remote from the coast, and remain totally unknown 
until by accident their works were brought to light. For many 
vessels had passed by these Keyes and many visitors had landed 
•ori the shores without knowing that they had ever been in- 

It was found that the earthworks, which were erected in the 
midst of the island, had the same general shape as those in the 
■Gulf States. They were pyramids and had graded ways lead- 
ing from the water to their summits; but they arose out of the 
water, giving the idea that the people who built them were 
.navigators and fishermen, but they also led a village life simi- 
lar to the Southern Mound-Builders. The chief peculiarity of 
the village was that it was surrounded by an embankment, 
which was veneered with conch shells, and protected from the 
force of the waves by this means. There was an opening 
through the embankment by which the people entered the 
'bayou and reached their habitations. It is supposed that into 
the same opening, schools of fish were driven, and that it served 
as an immense fish weir. 

Prof. Putnam, in his comments upon this find, points out 
the resemblance between the wooden objects and masks and 
those found in Central America, South America, Alaska and 
•the Northwest Coast, and founds an argument upon this that 



the Mound-Builders migrated from the West to the East, and 
finally reached the Florida Keyes; and that they early had 
their home in the Central American region, which extended 
around the gulf to Florida. 

VI. The idols found in the mounds are very significant. 
These images remind us of those sometimes seen on the facades 
of the palaces in Central America. The)' also remind us of the 
worship of the god of war, of rain, of death, and the god of 
light, which prevailed in Mexico. These idols became scat- 
tered, some being found in Ohio and various parts of the 
Mississippi Valley; but the images found 
in the so-called "dead houses" of the 
Southern tribes indicate that their 
religious system was different from that 
of the Ohio tribes. 

The idols of the Stone Grave peo- 
ple are of various sizes, from large stone 
images, two feet or more in height, <o 
small clay figures not over three inches 
in length. They were made of sand- 
stone, limestone, fluor spar and stalac- 
tite, as well as of clay. Some have been 
discox'ered in caves, others on the sum- 
mits of high mounds, a few in the depths 
of the mounds; but a large majorit)- 
ha\'e been picked up from the surface. 
One of these is represented in the cut. 
It was found in a cave in Knox Co., 
Tennessee. It may have been fashioned 
from a large stalactite. It is twenty 
inches in length and weighs thirty- 
seven pounds. It shows a prominent 
nose, heavy eye-brows, full cheeks, 
broad square chin and retreating fore- 
head; all of wliich are features of the 
Muscogees or Southern Indians. The 
mouth is formed by a projecting ring; a 
groove runs across the facr, between the 
nose and mouth, in this respect it re- 
sembles the sculptured figures found in Mexico and Central 

Another -idol in a sitting position, was found in Perry 
County, Tennessee. Gen. G. P. Thruston, the best authority 
on the antiquities of Tennessee, has described several stone 
idols and terra cotta images found in the Stone Grave settle- 
ments at Nashville. These show the flattened forehead, and 
vertical occiput, characteristic of the crania of the Stone Grave 
Race, He says the features of the face were of a heavy 
Ethiopian cast, similar to those of ihe dark image in the pot- 
tery idols shown in the plate. Traces of garments are some- 

Idolfrom Knox Co., 


^'f't 'Jt-'u' ^'"efi^her Crest of the warrior class. Fig. 2 is an Ancestral Tablet. Fir ■, is the Horned Croi^n 

it "l^wiJl'^r't""! H "^^'^r-K^'" P^'^Jl*^ °" '•'' ^^"-l" °^ '»^f «'"' ^^"ed hoifesof the Creek Indians- 
Fig. 4 « •She41 painted w,th the humanized bird god, resembling thJcopper bird-^od fgund at Etowah Mound 




times found on images of clay. The hands of the clay figures 
were frequently found in the same position. 

Mr. Caleb Atwater mentions two idols, found in a tumulus 
near Nashville, Tennessee; another, near Natchez, Mississippi. 
Thomas Jefferson mentions two Indian busts, found on the 
Cumberland River. Du Pratz says the Natchez had a temple 
filled with idols, images of men and women of stone and baked 
clay. According to the " Brevis Narratio," the Indians venera- 
ted, as an idol, the column which Ribault had erected, to which 
they offered the finest fruits, perfumed oils, bows and arrows, 
and decorated it with wreaths of flowers. 

De Soto found a large temple at Talomeco, in which were 
gigantic statues of wood, carved with considerable skill, which 
stood "in a threatening attitude and ferocious looks," at the 

Idol from. Tenticssec. 

Idol from Georgia. 

entrance. The interior of the temple was decorated with 
statues. Adair saw carved human statues of wood, in the 
Muscogee country, which seemed to be "the effigies of heroes 
and the symbols of tribal pomp and power." .. ^jfc^ 

There was, however, a difference between the idols found in 
the Gulf States and the image pipes, or so-called idol pipes, 
sometimes found in the valley of the Ohio. This difference will 
be seen in reading the description of one recently discovered in 
Ohio, by Mr. \V. C. Mills, of the Archaeological Society of Ohio. 
The following is his description of the mound and pipe: 

The Adena Mound is on the estate owned by Governor Worthington. 
This mound belongs to the Chillicothe group. From its iummit the noted 
Mound City could be seen directly to the north; also the Chillicothe group 
to the south, directly east was the Scioto River, to the west is the large hilL 


on which is the mansion called " Adena." Near the mound at the foot of 
the hill was an artificial lake, from which the; dirt was taken in buildinj^ the 
mound. It measured 26 feet in height and 445 feet in circumference. The 
mound was built at two different periods. In the first period the origi- 
nal mound was 20 feet high, with a base 90 feet in diameter. It was con- 
structed of dark sand taken from the lake. In the second period the mound 
was covered with a few ftet of soil different from that used in the first 
period. The base was extended more than fifty feet; the apex, twelve or 
fifteen feet. The burials belonged to both periods. In the first period, a 
rude sepulchre, made of unhewn logs, was below the surface, and the body 
deposited in this. In a number of cases the loose earth was removed from 
the sepulchres, disclosing lar^e rooms, some ten feet long and seven feet 
wide, with an arched roof, high enough for a man to stand upright in them. 
I 1 the second period, the burials were quite different: no sepulchers were 
prepared for the dead ; not one of the skeletons was covered with bark, and 
only one showed any trace of a woven fabric. This was preserved around 
a copper bracelet. 

The idol pipe represented in the plate was taken from the bottom of 
this mound, and from a sepulchre made of large logs, placed eight feet 
apart, the top covered with smaller logs. The implemenls and ornaments 
were placed promiscuously in the stpulchre. The effigy represents the 
liuman form in a nude state, except a covering about the loins. On the 
front of this covering was a snail-like ornamentation. The mouth-piece 
^^ormed a part of the headdress of the image. The front part of the pipe 
was gray and the back, brick red, and covered with a deposit of iron ore. 
From the lobe of each ear hung an ear-ornament, resembling the button- 
•shaped copper ornaments frequently found in the mounds. 

This review of the religion of the Mound-Builders is fragment- 
ary and somewhat unsatisfactory, but so far as revealed by the 
symbols and the relics, the conclusion is warranted, that there 
was a progressive series from the North to the South, consist- 
ing of animal worship and sun worship, the worship of the 
•elements and the sky, and the worship of human attributes, in 
the shape of idols, but no apprehension of the personality of 
the Supreme Being, this indicates that the Mound-Builders, 
as a whole, had developed whatever system they had, inde- 
pendently of all other nations. 

.1 NDEX 

Adams Co., 111.. Serpent Effigy in, 


Adams Co., Ohio, Serpent Effigy 

in, 123. 
Adena Mound, 174, 179, 339. 
Alexanderville, O., 86, 138,264, 265. 
Algonqums, 21,64, 116. 
Alligator Mound, Granville, O., 230. 
Altars, 47, 124, 165; 231, 242, 243, 

Animal Effigies, 71, 227, 228. 
Antiquity of Mounds, 31, 53, 138. 
Appalachian Mountains, 27, 215. 
Arkansas, Mounds in, 122, 145, 215, 

Arrow Heads, 283. 
Ashtabula, O , Mounds at, 192, 
Asia, Niounds in, 5. 
Atwater. Caleb, 52, 88, 90, 135, 252^ 
Aztlan, Wis., no, 170, 171, 216. 

Banner Stones, 37, 290. 
Bartram, 146, 259. 
Baum Works, 126. 
Beacon Mounds. 189. 
Beauchamp, Rev. Wm., 137, 194. 
Beehive Tombs, 115, 127, 128, 
Beloit, Wis., Mound at, 71. 
Binkley, S. H., 208, 270. 
Big Harpeth, Tenn., 216 267, 
Big Twin Works, 207, 270. 
Bird-shaped Amulets, 285, 289. 
Bird Pipes, 280. 
Blackwater Group, 238. 
Bourneville, O.. 115, 155, 192, 210. 
Brackenridge, J. M., 98, 176, 177. 
Brinton, Dr. D. G., 102, 121. 
British Columbia. Mounds in, 341. 
Brooding Ornaments, 288. 
Brush Creek, 85, 139. 
Buffalo and Indians, The, 49-55, 
Burial Mounds, 12, 59-74. 

Cahokia Mound, 98. 159. 175, 178, 

California Relics, 34. 
Carlisle Fort, 209. 
Carr, Lucien, 126. 
Cartier, Jacques, 19, 280, 
Cass County, 111., 233, 242, 
Catawba Indians, 128. 

Catlin, J. C, 121. 

Cedar Banks, Works at. 89, 268, 269. 

Chambered Mounds, 75, 223-226. 

Chattahoochie River, Mounds on, 

Chatanooga, 179, 285. 

Cherokees, 97, iio, 116, 116, 118, 125, 
131. 235. 

Chillicothe, O., 85, 156, 191. 

Choctaws, 29; Map, 183. 

Chunky Stones, 286, 290. 

Cincinnati, O.. Works at, 85. 117, 

Circles and Crosses, 55. 84,94, 152, 
217, 231, 249. 255, 263, 266, 269, 
284. 297, 304, 306. 

Circlevilie, O., W^orksat,86, 190,269. 

Clan Emblems, 22, 71, 122, 144. 

Clans among the Mound-Builders, 
141- 144. 155. 185- 

Clark's Works, 89, 95, 196, 197. 

Cloth in Mounds, 52, 69, 184, 234, 283. 

Coleraine Works, 95, 198. 

Concentric Circles, 135, 256. 

Cook Farm, Mounds on, 233. 

Copper Relics— Awls, 67, 234; Axes, 
40, 43. 46, 52, 69; Beads, 234, 267; 
Bell. 333. Chisels, 234; Cres- 
cents, 247; Crosses, 266, 332; 
Disks, 248; Masks, 79; Mines, 35, 
349; Plates, 51, 52, 327; Rings, 
179. 274, 312, 329. 332; Spools, 
234. 236, 239, 261, 266. 

Covered Ways, 93. 

Crawford County, Wisconsin, 225. 

Creek Indians, 131. 

Crescent Earthworks, 228, 256. 

Crescent Pavements. 262, 269. 

Cultus of the Mound-Builders, 133- 

Dakota, Mounds in, 24, 62, 67, 114, 

Dakotas, 29,64, 85, 113, 118, 120, 139, 

Davenport Academy, 41, 45, 53, 68. 
Davenport Mounds, 43, 67, 283. 
Davenport Pipes, 41, 233. 
Davenport Tablets, 43, 48. 
Dawson, Sir William, 116, 137, 150. 
Dayton, O , Works at, 138, 198. 
Defensive Walls, 92. 



Defensive Works, 185, 220. - 
Delawares, 21, 26, 121, I2g. 
Des Moines River, 122, 136. 
Detroit, Mich., 74. 
Districts, Different, Map of, 182. 
Divisions of Territory, 15, 23, 62. 
Dunlap's Works, i?g, 140. 

Eagles. Copper, 52. 171. 
East Tennessee, Works in, 118. 
East St. Louis, Works at, qS. 
East Dubuciue, Works at, 224, 226. 
Effigy Mounds, 71, 227, 250. 
Effigy Pipes, 197, 273. 
Elephant Pipes, 41. 
Enclosures in Ohio, 18, 26. 51-56. 
Eries, The, 116. 
Etowah Mound, 161, 179, 314.? 
Etowah, Ga., Works at; 141, 285, 
Europe, Mounds in, 16, 60. 
Evansville. Ind., Works at, 170, 
Excelsior, Minn., Mounds at, (£. 

Falling Gardens, 106, 177. 

Fcatherstoneaugh, 163. 

Fire Beds, 38, 115, 237. 302, 312, 313. 

Fire Worship, 172. 231-237, 

Flint Ridge, 35, 57. 

Flint Hoes. 35, 289. 

Florida, Rehcs in, 38. 

Florida, Works in, 38, 337. 

Fort Ancient, 203, 241. 

Fort Hill, 201, 266. 

Fort in Clark County, Ind.. 212. 

Forts on Miami River, 196. 

Forts on Scioto River. 210. 

Fortified Hill, 206, 216, 218. 

Fortified Villages, 39, 148, 194. 

Galena, Illinois, Mounds at, 65. 
Game Drives, rjS. 
Garden Beds, 35. 

Gasconade County, Missouri, 11.39. 
Gateways, 151, 199, 204. 212. 
Geographical Divisions, 23, 62, 182. 
Georgia, Mounds in, 35, 280. 
Gold Ornament, 38. 
Gorgets, Shell, 128, 264, 305. 
Graded Ways, 153, 175. 
Grades of Culture, 136, 353-356. 
Granville, O., Mounds at, 155, 195, 230 
Grave Creek Mound, 76, 114, 121. 
Graves of Indians, 324, 335. 
Great Miami River, 189, 196. 
Grotesque Portraits, 277. 

Habitation Mounds, 214, 264. 
Hamilton County, O., 197. 
Hand Symbol, 301, 302. 
Hardinsburg Fort, O., 116. 
Hearths, 209. 
High Bank, 87, 149. 
Highland County, O., 190. 

Hill Forts, 206-211. 
Hochelaga, 138, 146. 
Hocking Creek, 85. 
Hoes and Spades, 35, 275. 
Holmes, W. H., 187, 301, 307. 
Hopeton, O., 51. 89, 149, 255, 266. 
Horn Handles, 104. 
Horse-shoe Symbol, 207, 249, 303. 
Hubbard, Hon. Bela, 74. 
Human Sacrifices, 298. 
Hunter Tribes, 63 64, 225. 
Hurons, 279. 

Idols, 288, 317, 339. 

Illinois, Mounds in, 17, 24, 53, 56-57, 

63. 67, 69, 122, 130, 158. 224, 236, 

242, 302, 306. 
Illinois River, Mounds on, 52, 56-57, 
Images, Pottery, 108, 339. 
Images, Stone, 339. 
Implements of Bone, 326. 
Indiana, Mounds in, 24, 41,' 63, 86, 

212, 235, 257, 261, 264. 
Indians and Mound-Builders, 50-58. 
Indian Traditions, 120, 125, 130, 137, 

140, 142, 144, 165, 229, 232, 237, 

247. 281. 
Indian Villages, 55, 135, 141. 
Inscribed Tablets, 48. 
Intruded Burials, 124. 
Iowa, Mounds in, 24, 53, 63, 67, 130, 

224. 225-226. 
lowas, 129, Map. 

Iroquois, 26, 119, I2g, 226, 279, 282. 
Iron in Mounds, 60. 

Jade, 36- 

Johnson, H. L., 108. 
Jones, C. C, Hon., 30, 190. 
Jones, Dr. Joseph, 216. 

Kaskaskia, loi. 

Kenawha Valley, 27, 115, 131, 258. 

Kentucky, "38, 41, 139. 

Keokuk, 136. 

Kickapoos, Map. 

Kinney, T. W., 250. 

Knives, 104. 

Kocb, Dr., 39. 

Koshkohong, 71. 

Kunz, G. F., 38. 

Lake-dwellings, 34. 
Lake Michigan, 23. 
Lapham, Dr. J. A., i8g. 
Leaf-shaped Implements, 242. 
Leni Lenape, 121. 
Lodge Circles, 145, 219. 
Lookout Mounds, 187-192. 
Louisiana, Pyramds in, 175, 178. 

Maces, 181, 275, 287. 
Marietta, Ohio, 83, 89, 91, 152. 



Marquette, i68. 

Masks, 228 

Massie's Creek, 211, 241. 

Mastodon, 32, 30, 41. 

McAdams, William, 162. 

Messier Mound, 182, 

Mexican Semblances, 180. 

Mexico, 34, 36. 

Miami River, 116, 156, 256, 265. 

Miamisburg, Ohio, 86, igi. 

Mica Crescents, 262, 298. 

Mica Mines, 35. 

Micos Cabin. 145. 

Middle District, 114 132. 

Middle Tennessee. 104. 

Military Works, 25, 137, 141, i8g. 

Mississippi, Pyramids in, 311-312. 

Mississippi River Relics, 277. 

Missouri, Mastodon in, 39. 

Missouri Pottery, 322. 

Missouri Kivtr, Mounds on, 114. 

Mitchell Station, 56. 

Moquis, 236. 

Moline, Illinois, 52, 69, 233. 

Monk's Mound, 100. 

Moon Cult. 237-244. 

Margan, L. H.. 143, 353. 

Moorehead, W. K., 50, 203, 242. 

Mounds, Altar, 47, 124, 231, 242, 260, 

297. 309-324. 
Mounds, Bacon, 191. 
Mounds, Chambered, no, 124, 223. 
Mounds, Conical, 265. 
Mounds, Effigy, 23, 69, 227, 250. 
Mounds, Fire, in, 192, 233. 
Mounds, Great, iij. 164. 177, 264. 
Mounds, High, n7, 164, 177. 
Mounds, Hill, 1 19, 188. 
Mounds, Lookout, 64. 
Mounds, Maps of, 17, 18. 22, 47, 58, 

69,94. 1 15- '74. 189, 263. 
Mounds, Northern. 341. 
Mounds, Observatory, 152. 
Mounds, Oblong, 242. 
Mounds, Platform. 27, 83, 150, 
Mounds, Pyramid, 29, 157 184. 
Mounds, Sacrificial. 93, 256. 
Mounds, Serpent, 122, 296. 
Mounds, Signal, 189. 
Mounds, Stratified, 53, 56, 225, 235, 

244. 3' 3- 
Mounds, Symbolic, 252, 269. 
Mounds, Terraced, 166, 173, 239. 
Mounds, Truncated, 265. 
Muscatine Slough, 17, 68, 233. 
Muscogees, 190, Map. 
Muskingum, 85, ns, 256. 

Nashville, Tenn , 283, 288. 

Natchez. 29, 100, 1 18. 

Newark. O . 86, 152, 263. 

Newburg Mastodon, 39. 

North Carolina, Mounds, 27, 1 15, 128. 

Northern Georgia, 28, 129. 
Number of Mounds, 20. 

Observatory Mound, 163. 
Obsidian, 33, 261. 
Ocmulgee River, 173-182. 
Ohio, Defences in, 84, 92, ng, 122, 
Ohio, Mounds in, 84, 92, ng. 122, 
126, 137, 138, 152, 188, 192,206,288. 
Ohio, Relics in, 34, 233, 242, 261, 268. 
278, 282, 291,315-321. 

Painesville, Ohio, 74. 

Paint Creek, Ohio, 85, 87, n5, 197, 

256, 298. 
Panther Pipe, no. 
Parallel Walls, 151. 
Pavements, 204, 209, 257, 262. 
Pearls, 318, 322. 
Phallic Worship, 300.^ 
Piketon, 154. 
Pipe Stone Quarry, 35. 
Platform Mounds, 263. 
Portrait Pipes, 283. J 
Portraits, 106. 

Portsmouth, O.. 85, 88, 94, 248, 255. 
Pottery, 102 n 2, 279. 
Pottery Heads, 109. 
Pottery in Vessels, 314-325. 
Prairie Jefferson, 174. 
Putnam, Prof F. W., 165, 235. 
Pyramid Builders, n4, 132, 158-184, 

307. -v; 

Pyramid Mounds, 157, 176, 185, 320. 

guincy. 111., 67, 123, 296, 304. 

Races Among Mound-Builders, 20, 

Red River, 63. 
Religious Works, 221-237. 
Relics, 21, 266, 271-292, 

Sacred Enclosures, 81-96 252, Map. 

Sacrificial Mounds, 93, 314, 

Sacs and Foxes, 237. 

Salt Springs, 348. 

Savannah. Tenn., 170, 219. 

Seal Township, 89. 239. 

Scioto River, 87, n5, ng. 

Scrolls and Spearheads, 322. 

Sea Shells, 251 

•"erpent Mounds, 122, 123. 

Serpent Pipes, 302, 322. 

Serpent Symbol, 265, 304, 306, 322. 

Shawnees, 100, ng, Map. 

Shell Beads, 33. 235, 243. 

Shell Gorgets, 128, 132, 306. 

Silver in Mounds, 36, 56, 319. 

Silver Ornaments, 38. 

Silvery Mica, 127, 243, 262, 314. 

Solar Cult' 245-247. 

South Carolina. 131. 



Spider Gorgets, 284, 302, 307, 332. 

Spool Ornaments, 266. 

Squier & Davis, 87, 88, 125, i3r. 235. 

St. Louis, 1,7. 

Stockades, 193-195. 

Stockade Villages, 38, 142, 192. 

Stone Forts, i }i, 147, 211, 342 

Stone Grave People, 97-112. 118, 161, 

216, 220, 278, 285, 323. 
Stone Mounds. 79, 212, 214, 312. 
Sun Circles, 251-259. 
Sun Symbols, 252, 260. 
Sun Worship, 85, 125, 164, 251, 259. 

Suastika, 51, 54, 301. 
Symbolism, 82, 293, 304. 

Tablets, 42-46, 48, 303, 322. 
Tennessee, Mounds in, 97, 102, 112, 

128, 141, 170, 267, 301, 342. 
Terraced Mounds, 74, 146, 158, 166, 

170, 252. 
Thomas, Dr. Cyrus, 73, 116. 
Thruston, Gen G. P., 99, 190, 267, 296, 
Toad Pipe, 321. 
Toolsboro, 234. 

Totems, 22, 72, 225, 227, 229, 230, 250. 
Traditions of Indians, 120, 130, 137, 

142, 144. 165, 229, 237, 281. 
Trumpet Pipe. 281. 
Tube Pipes, 282. 
Turner Group, 318. 

Upper Mississippi, 63. 
Urns, 65, 

Vases, 107, 324, 326, 334. 340. 

Vaults, 70, 126. 

Villages of Indians, 139. 145, 187, 

I94. 215. 
Villages of Mound-Builders, 126, 

156, 173-194. 
Vincennes, Ind., 117, igo, 264. 

Wateree River, Mounds on, see Map. 
Winged Figures, 173. 
Wooden Relics, 337. 
Worthington, O., Works a», 265. 
Woven Cloth, 180. 
Wyalusing, 13. 
Wyandottes, 2 6129,, 


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